Aid agencies call for international aid for Horn of Africa emergency

Multiple global and local aid agencies called for $7 billion full funding for the UN response to food emergencies in the Horn of Africa Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday’s Horn of Africa High Level Pledging Conference. The conference is being hosted by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the governments of Italy, Qatar, the UK and the US, in collaboration with the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

The statement from agencies, including the International Rescue Committee, OXFAM and the Somali NGO Consortium, raised concerns surrounding man-made climate change’s effect on food supply in the region. The statement reads, in part:

Increasingly frequent, severe, and pervasive climate-fuelled disasters, including the longest and most severe drought on record in the Horn of Africa, are affecting communities in catastrophic ways. The drought, in convergence with other shocks such as unusually high food and commodity prices and ongoing conflicts has destroyed lives and livelihoods and driven record levels of humanitarian needs.

The statement goes on to urge donors to make substantial financial pledges to fully fund the Humanitarian and Drought Response Plans for Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, balance the distribution of the funds across different public sectors and make sure all pledges are as transparent as possible, allowing aid organizations to better plan efforts.

Reports released by the UN claim that over 43,000 have died in Somalia as a result of the recent droughts across the region, significantly more than between 2015 and 2016. Reports from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center have also shown a rise in displacement numbers across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Somalia has been hit particularly hard by drought, with the World Food Program labeling the situation an “emergency.” It has yet to be categorized as a famine, due to the strict classification requirements, however some experts have raised concerns that the situation may rise to the level of famine very soon.

New evidence from World Weather Attribution suggests that man-made climate change is largely responsible for the current drought conditions fueling the crisis.