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Horn of Africa Drought: Regional Humanitarian Overview & Call To Action | Business Brief, July 2022

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OVERVIEW OF THE CRISIS

The Horn of Africa is suffering its worst drought in over forty years. People face the threat of starvation following four consecutive failed rainy seasons in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, a climatic event not seen in at least four decades. The frequency and severity of droughts in recent years have made it harder for people to recover between shocks.

Across the region, at least 19.4 million people are affected by the drought that began in October 2020. At least 18.6 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are living with acute food insecurity and rising malnutrition. They could number 20 million by September.

At least 7 million livestock—which families rely upon for sustenance and livelihoods—have died across the region since October 2020. Consequently, children have less access to the milk they need. Across the three countries, malnutrition rates are rising: more than 7.1 million children are acutely malnourished, including about 2 million who are severely acutely malnourished, according to UNICEF.

More than 11.6 million people cannot access enough safe water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Many water points have dried up or become unsafe, heightening the risk of water-borne diseases and increasing the risk of infections. Existing water deficits are worsened by the heat, which is forecast to continue until September 2022. In some of the worst affected areas in Somalia, water prices have increased up to 72 per cent since November 2021. Women and girls walk farther to access water—often up to double or triple the distances they would have to walk during a regular dry season— exposing them to dehydration and violence. Water shortages are leading to poorer hygiene in health facilities and schools.
People are facing several crises at once. Food prices are increasing in many drought-affected areas due to the below-average harvests and rising prices on international markets. Floods, COVID-19, and the desert locust infestation have affected communities throughout the region. Furthermore, millions of people in Ethiopia and Somalia are living through conflict.

Lives will be lost if there is not more funding. Forecasts indicate that the October-December 2022 rainy season could also fail, leading to an unprecedented catastrophe. Immediate action is required to prevent the worst in the months ahead. More information can be found here

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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.