Drought pushes Horn of Africa into $2.68 billion funds appeal

Thursday March 30 2023
Women carrying jerrycans in search of water

Women carrying jerrycans in search of water in Erebti, Ethiopia on June 09, 2022. There has been a severe drought in the Horn of Africa. PHOTO | EDUARDO SOTERAS | AFP


Countries in the Horn of Africa — Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia — will need more than $2.68 billion to support key sectoral needs in the coming four months as a result of the ongoing drought in the region.

Regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), on Wednesday raised the appeal for urgent humanitarian response to supply basic needs such as water, food and pasture to save those affected by drought.

Dr Workeneh Gebeyehu, the executive secretary of Igad, said the prolonged drought, marked by five consecutive below-average rainfall seasons, has crippled the region’s ability to provide sufficient food to its population.

"The consequences of the drought are terrible in some pastoral and agropastoral areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, and has resulted to severe water and pasture shortages, one million displaced people, over 10 million livestock and wildlife deaths, reduced crop and livestock production, all of which are increasing food insecurity,” he said.

Shorter than normal season

Igad says that despite heavy rainfall recently recorded, there are signs the season might be shorter than normal, bringing lingering effects in the three states.


“Forty-seven million of our brothers and sisters are highly food insecure and some risk dying of starvation. Seventy percent of these 47 million people live in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. This is why we solemnly call on the international community to help us prevent a major humanitarian disaster by committing requisite resources to save lives and livelihoods in the short-term, and continue investing in resilience building in the medium and long-term,” said Dr Gebeyehu.

Somalia is the most affected and needs $1.6 billion to provide food and non-food items to the communities affected by drought and internally displaced people in the next four months whereas Kenya requires $378 million to provide food, water and vaccination to the affected counties until October 2023.

Timely and effective responses

Igad, in its report this week, indicates Ethiopia needs $710 million to provide support to key sectoral needs until August this year.

The regional body says member states are also working on strengthening disaster risk governance capacity to ensure timely and effective responses to drought and other disasters in the region.

 “Our recovery will require resources and time, and we must work to prevent future disasters from having such severe impacts. Igad has outlined mid to long-term priorities to make the region more resilient and sustainable,” said the Igad boss.