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Hunger likely to claim a life every 36 seconds in East Africa, aid group warns

Friday October 14, 2022
By Mohammed Dhaysane

Somalia most affected by drought in region, with millions needing urgent assistance

MOGADISHU, Somalia - One person is likely to die of hunger every 36 seconds between now and the end of the year in drought-ravaged East Africa as the worst-hit areas hurtle toward famine, an international humanitarian agency warned on Friday.

In a statement, Oxfam International said that the situation in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya is “deteriorating fast.”

“In Somalia, it is the worst hunger crisis in living memory, with the number of people experiencing acute hunger already surpassing the number affected in the famine of 2011, when more than a quarter of a million people died. Almost one in six people in Somalia are now facing extreme hunger,” the statement said.

“Large parts of the region have suffered four failed rainy seasons – with a fifth likely to unfold over the next three months – as climate change has decimated crops and forced pastoralists to abandon their traditional way of life,” it added.

Oxfam said the crisis has been exacerbated in many places by conflict, the fallout from COVID-19 and by rising food prices due in part to the war in Ukraine.

Oxfam data "suggests that the rate at which people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are dying of hunger has increased since May when it estimated that a person was dying every 48 seconds and dangerous delays in providing aid to millions on the brink of starvation,” the statement said.

It said that across the four countries in East Africa, more than 6 million children face or are already suffering from acute malnutrition.

Last month, the UN said that famine will occur in some parts of Somalia, especially in the country’s South West State as the state administrative capital Baidoa alone is now hosting nearly a million newly displaced people who fled from the drought in search of food and water.

In late 2021, the Somali government declared the drought a “national emergency.”


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