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13 million people facing hunger across Horn of Africa: WFP

Shortages of water and pasture due to three consecutive failed rainy seasons have decimated crops and caused abnormally high livestock deaths. Courtesy photo

Geneva, Switzerland | Xinhua | The World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday warned that an estimated 13 million people are facing hunger across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, as the Horn of Africa grappled with severe drought caused by the driest conditions since 1981.

Tomson Phiri, spokesperson for the WFP, told a press briefing on Tuesday that the severe drought was widespread and likely to grow worse, with livestock dying, causing devastating losses for pastoral families.

After three consecutive failed rainy seasons, harvests were as much as 70 percent below the norm in affected areas, the WFP spokesperson noted.

Moreover, he said, food and water prices were skyrocketing, leading to a sharp decline in the terms of trade.

“Given the forecast for a below-average March to May rainy season, the next two to three months would be critical. Early action was needed to prevent a humanitarian disaster across the Horn of Africa,” he said.

WFP said it would be launching its Regional Drought Response Plan for the Horn of Africa, where teams were already supporting families with cash and emergency assistance and providing life-saving food and nutrition assistance to affected communities.

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Xinhua

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