More than seven million people across six countries in East Africa are on the brink of starvation, according to Christian humanitarian organisation World Vision.
The charity warns if the international community does not act now, thousands of children could face long-term health consequences or die.
“It’s heart-breaking that the lives of millions of children in East Africa are at risk due to a perfect storm of conflict, changing or unpredictable weather patterns, and the aftershocks of COVID-19,” said Edgar Sandoval Sr., president and CEO of World Vision U.S. “The long-term harm of malnutrition on children’s development hinders their ability to achieve their God-given potential.”
It is estimated that more than 108,000 people in East Africa are under catastrophic famine conditions, marked by critical acute malnutrition, starvation, destitution, and death, according to World Vision.
This figure is expected to grow as excessive rainy seasons and conflict plague the region. Additionally, almost seven million people are one step away from famine, and as many as 26 million require urgent action to prevent them from sliding into the same acute situation.
“We are marshalling resources to support vulnerable communities across East Africa, to avert the catastrophic effects of hunger, starvation, and loss of livelihoods. We are particularly concerned about the impact on children,” said Joseph Kamara, regional humanitarian and emergency affairs director for World Vision East Africa. “It is not too late to avert the crisis, but it will be soon, if we don’t act quickly and decisively.”
The East Africa region has endured substantial and widespread breeding of desert locusts since late 2019, resulting in loss of pasture and crops. During the second half of 2020, large-scale floods destroyed ready-to-harvest crops of more than four million people across the region. Furthermore, the region is gripped by protracted crises and fragility in several countries compounded by the new conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia, which has dramatically increased food insecurity.
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SOURCE: Assist News Service, Peter Wooding