Since May, the impact of the El Niño climatic event has manifested itself primarily in persistent drought conditions, most acutely in parts of Ethiopia and Sudan, and drier than average conditions in parts of Eritrea (coast), Greater Upper Nile region of South Sudan, parts of northern Uganda and parts of Somaliland and Puntland, in Somalia. The food security situation is of great concern, with an increase of 64 per cent increase (7.2 million people) in the number of food insecure people between August and December 2015 . An estimated 18.5 million people are food insecure as at December 2015.
Enhanced El Niño-related rains have increased the risk of flooding along the main river systems in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. Nearly 100 people have died as a result of flood related incidents in Kenya and more than 300,000 people displaced in the four countries. The displacement is however significantly lower than expected and the enhanced rainfall has favoured arid and semi-arid areas with good pasture, crop development and replenished some water sources.
While respective national Governments and humanitarian partners are responding to the El Niño related needs, significant resource gaps have been reported in all critical sectors.
Governments and humanitarian partners have scaled-up response activities, working with local authorities and community leadership to strengthen local response capacity. The regional Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG )has called for further scaling-up of life-saving and livelihood support activities (especially for pastoralist) until mid-2016 when the next season’s crop harvests and animal products are expected.
Humanitarian requirements in the Horn and Great Lakes Region totalled USD 5.7 billion in 2015, and are only 49 per cent funded at year-end. Increased funding is required to address both increasing displacement and to respond to the drought and flood impact of El Niño.
Disaster risk reduction and preparedness activities should continue beyond the El Niño period. The region is prone to floods and drought even outside El Niño years. Development funding should be programmed for early recovery as a strong El Niño is historically often followed by a La Niña.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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