Several East African countries are now facing major food shortages due to domestic droughts and outside forces such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
More than 29 million people are suffering from a scarcity of food supplies.
The crisis has come following prolonged periods of drought in the east of the continent that have been exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine, according to the eight-country African trade bloc the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
“Across the IGAD region, 29 million people are facing high levels of food insecurity,” said IGAD, which is headquartered in Djibouti, in a recent Twitter post.
IGAD members consist of Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia from the Horn of Africa; Sudan and South Sudan from the Nile Valley; and Kenya and Uganda from the African Great Lakes region.
Around 15.5 to 16 million people are in need of “immediate food assistance,” with 6 to 6.5 million in Ethiopia; 3.5 million in Kenya; and 6 million in Somalia, according to The Epoch Times.
In the southern-central part of Somalia “the situation is catastrophic, w/ 81,000 people at risk of famine,” added the IGAD Secretariat.
Besides this, South Sudan faces “prolonged flooding” leading “another 8 million people” into acute food insecurity.
IGAD has called upon humanitarian partners and international donors to prevent the worsening humanitarian crisis in the region and coordinate life-saving assistance immediately.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised food shortages and hiked prices across the globe, especially in the most vulnerable African and Middle Eastern regions.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said that global food prices rose at their fastest pace on record in March, spiking 13 percent over the month to 159.3 points.
Russia and Ukraine are leading producers and major food exporters of staples like wheat, corn, and barley.
The war has resulted in Black Sea ports being blocked off, leading Ukraine to ship out supplies on rail, which has faced considerable logistical difficulties.
In South Sudan, floods and droughts, conflicts, displacement, and economic downturn have adversely affected 7.74 million people (62.7 percent of the population), according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis.
They face an IPC Phase 3 level threat.
An IPC Phase 3 “CRISIS” classification in a specific region indicates at least 20 percent of households are experiencing the conditions of the phase.
Conditions include acute malnutrition rates between 10 and 15 percent.
IPC Phase 4 “EMERGENCY” classification indicates acute malnutrition rates rising to between 15 and 30 percent, while an IPC Phase 5 “FAMINE” classification points to acute malnutrition levels exceeding 30 percent with more than two per 1,000 people dying each day.
April to July 2022 is considered the lean season during which 87,000 people in South Sudan would likely be categorized under IPC Phase 5, while an estimated 2.90 million people are likely to face IPC Phase 4 level food insecurity.