Humanitarian workers now want the current hunger crisis in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia to be treated with the same urgency as the conflict in Ukraine.
A media release by Save the Children states that over 14 million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are facing starvation and around 7 million are children.
Save The Children further warns that the number could rise to 20 million.
According to the NGO, this crisis has been partially brought about by some of the world’s biggest challenges like climate change.
A High-Level Roundtable on the Horn of Africa Drought co-hosted by the European Union and the United Nations will be held tomorrow to discuss the severe drought that has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic
Save the Children’s Regional Spokesperson for East and Southern Africa, Shako Kijala, said, “Children are always hit hardest by a food crisis – without enough to eat and the right nutritional balance, they are at high risk of malnutrition. Malnutrition leads to stunting, impairs mental and physical development in the long run, increases the risk of other illnesses, and ultimately causes death. For millions of children affected by the drought-driven hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa, time is running out.”
Nearly 5.7 million children in the Horn of Africa are threatened by acute malnutrition which leads to lifelong cognitive and physical impairments, increases the risk of other illnesses, and ultimately causes death. More than 1.7 million are at risk of severe acute malnutrition.
“Because of the drought, we are skipping meals. I have to ration supper, and divide meals so that some of my children who need additional food are able to eat more than others,” said Elizabeth Akaale, a mother of seven, living in Turkana, Kenya.
Humanitarian and development workers with NGOs in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, said the outpouring of support for people affected by the conflict in Ukraine demonstrated a strong sense of shared humanity. But they said they have yet to see the same level of urgency for millions of people like Elizabeth who bear the brunt of some of the world’s biggest shared challenges, including the climate crisis.
“Not getting much needed international attention and additional resources at a time of historic need in the Horn of Africa would result in the loss of thousands of lives that could have been saved by a timely and at-scale response,” said Heather Amstutz, Danish Refugee Council Regional Director for East Africa and the Great Lakes.