Hunger Needs Expected To Rise In Horn Of Africa

Published on 08 July 2011

A woman with a young child next to their tent in the Dolo Ado refugee camp in Ethiopia. Copyright:WFP/Judith Schuler

The number of people in the Horn of Africa requiring food assistance from WFP is expected to rise as high as 10 million in coming weeks, as drought, high food and fuel prices, and conflict take their toll.

ROME – The number of people in the Horn of Africa requiring food assistance from WFP is expected to rise as high as 10 million in coming weeks, as drought, high food and fuel prices, and conflict take their toll.

As the number of hungry rises, there will be a growing need for special fortified food products that will help protect children against malnutrition. Malnutrition rates are particularly high among refugees from Somalia - especially children - who have been crossing the borders of Kenya and Ethiopia in large numbers.

WFP ED Briefs Board

WFP’s preparations for the drought in the Horn ave already saved many lives, Executive Director Josette Sheeran told WFP donors at an informal briefing in Rome on Friday. Read more

>>Focus on special nutritional foods Read statement

“I met Somali women and children who had walked for weeks to reach the safety of refugee camps in Kenya,” said WFP Spokesman, David Orr, on his return from Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya this week. “They were exhausted, in poor health, and the children were severely malnourished."

Escalating crisis

WFP is currently providing food assistance to around 6 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and eastern Uganda. It is working with national governments in the drought-affected areas and sharing the case-load of the numbers who require food assistance.

While addressing emergency needs, WFP is working to strengthen the resiliency of communities that live in drought-prone areas, using food assistance to support smallholder farmers and helping people to adapt to changes in weather patterns.

“It is essential that we move quickly to break the destructive cycle of drought and hunger that forces farmers to sell their means of production as part of their survival strategy,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran in a recent statement.

Impact exacerbated

While other droughts may have lasted longer, the current drought has been particularly severe and its impact has been exacerbated by extremely high food prices, reduced coping capacity and a limited humanitarian response, experts say.

As the number of hungry rises, more resources will be needed to meet the need for food assistance. WFP estimates that around US$477 million is needed to address hunger needs in the region through to the end of the year. Currently, it has a 40 percent shortfall in funding, with about US$190 million still needed.