More than 10 million Africans, most of them from Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibuti, Uganda and Kenya, are suffering from the effects of the worst drought in the last 60 years.
The so-called African Horn is undergoing “the biggest famine crisis at present”, said the spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Elyzabeth Byrs.
The organisation defined the situation in Africa as a disaster and warned of the growing number of people running away desperately in search of food and water.
Famine in Africa : Prolonged Scarcity of Food and Water
The prolonged scarcity of this vital liquid especially affects three million 200 thousand Ethiopians, two million 300 thousand Kenyans, two million 600 thousand Somalis and more than 100 thousand citizens of Djibuti.
Added to these calamities is the alarming rise of food prices- stemming in part from the drought-, mostly of grains, the staple diet in the region, especially in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Wheat, corn and soybean have reached prices never seen before and, according to the UN, could continue to climb in 2011, an increase regarded by the World Bank as having “dangerous levels”.
The skyrocketing ascent- stated the UN- is a threat to tens of millions of low-income people and places 44 million of them in extreme poverty in the world.
Food disaster in the African Horn has greater significance due to the 30 percent malnutrition rate, twice as much as what is permissible, and with a tendency to grow.
The UN called for an international mobilization to avoid a humanitarian crisis in face of a climate phenomenon with no possibility of being overcome until 2012.
Africa Famine Crisis : Rainfall and Violence add up to drama
In Somalia, the havoc wreaked by scarce rainfall and violence are more dramatic and have caused a record exodus of one million 400 thousand people in the last few years, 60 percent of them being women and children.
Nowadays, many of its inhabitants reach the refugee camps with urgent need of medical care, and nearly half the children have never been vaccinated, according to Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF).
One third of the population in Somalia, about two million 400 thousand people, needs continuous humanitarian aid, either due to ethnic conflicts or lack of water, according to data provided by the agency.
Somali is worst hit by the drought
Somali agriculture and cattle-raising are suffering serious losses because of lack of water, more so in the Sool plateau (north), where drought has been chronic for two decades.
Although the situation today is already extremely critical in this part of the world, it can get worse: if, for example, it does not rain, this would bring about more famine, malnutrition, illnesses in human beings and farm animals, along with school drop-outs and more serious inter-ethnic and community strife over scarce available resources.
These circumstances place inhabitants on the African Horn in worse conditions than those being suffered by the almost one thousand million people in the world suffering from hunger.
In this area, more than 60 percent of women sacrifice their stomach in order to feed their children; however, more than half of infant mortality is caused by malnutrition.
Turkey races to aid Somalia in massive relief effort
Turkish big and small charity organizations, governor’s offices and even the national government have all launched campaigns as part of a massive humanitarian effort to aid drought-stricken East Africa.
As part of a campaign led by the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), Turkish Red Crescent and the Directorate of Religious Affairs, two Turkish Airlines (THY) cargo aircrafts carrying relief supplies for families in need landed at Mogadishu Airport this week. TİKA President Serdar Cam, together with Somalia’s deputy prime minister, minister of national planning and international cooperation, and interior minister welcomed the planes at the airport.