June 9, 2023

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Horn of Africa: Worst drought in 40 years empties rivers and schools


Worst in 40 years, the current drought in the Horn of Africa has dried up water resources, pushed thousands of farmers off their land and emptied schools of their students.

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are facing a drought worrying aid organizations, with more than 20 million people at risk of starvation, and about 5.7 million children suffering from acute malnutrition, according to figures from the United Nations.

Because of this situation, many children in the area have been forced to leave schools, sometimes due to the forced displacement of their families, sometimes because they are busy fetching water several kilometers from their village.

Many teachers helplessly notice that the number of their pupils is decreasing day by day. According to forecasts, 420,000 Somali children are at risk of dropping out of school due to the destruction of livelihoods, pushing students into a daily struggle for food.

According to a recent United Nations report, more than 80 schools have been closed in Jubaland and Galmudug states, while another 97 are at risk of suffering the same fate, resulting in 45,000 students dropping out.

Although both genders are affected by dropping out of school due to drought, girls are generally more likely to drop out of school to marry, either for the dowry that must be paid to the family, or simply to ease the economic pressure on the family.

In addition to emptying schools, the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in at least four decades and rising temperatures have dried up lakes, rivers and dams, leaving 15 million people acutely food insecure.

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While climate change did not cause the drought, it clearly did exacerbate it, although the region is one of the least responsible for the phenomenon, being the cause of only 0.1% of global carbon emissions.

The Horn of Africa has seen three consecutive bad rainy seasons, while a fourth season, the ongoing one, is expected to have severe consequences. A situation that prompted the United Nations to sound the alarm by requesting urgent aid.

En effet, de retour d’une visite récente au Kenya, le secrétaire général adjoint de l’ONU pour les Affaires humanitaires, Martin Griffiths, an affirmé que « plus de 18 millions de personnes en Ethiopie, en Somalie et au sont touchées par Kenya drought. Most of them wake up hungry and don’t know if they are going to eat that day or not. »

For its part, the UN Humanitarian Coordination Agency (OCHA) indicated that nearly 40% of Somalia’s population faces extreme levels of food insecurity, and it is possible that some areas are already suffering from famine.

A situation that is likely to continue according to the forecasts of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which warns that the rainy season of 2022 (March-May) will be “the driest on record, destroying livelihoods and causing a sharp increase in food, water and food insecurity”.

On Monday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published a disturbing report, reporting an unprecedented climate event for at least four decades after the failure of four consecutive rainy seasons, while another indicates Long-term seasonal forecasts indicate that there is a concrete risk that the upcoming rainy season in October and December will also fail.

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To this end, UN agencies have called for a rapid intensification of actions to “save lives and avoid starvation and death”, calling for an immediate increase in the financial response in the Horn of Africa in order to avoid a commensurate deterioration of the food emergency. More serious situation.

Written by Hakim Anady