The UN World Food Program said Tuesday that 13 million people in the Horn of Africa are facing severe hunger, calling for immediate help to prevent a repeat of the decade-old famine that killed hundreds of thousands. of people.
Three poor rainy seasons have created the driest conditions since the 1980s, and below-average rainfall forecasts will add to the precariousness in the coming months.
“Crops are failing, livestock are dying and hunger is growing as recurring drought hits the Horn of Africa,” said Michael Dunford, regional director at the WFP Regional Office for East Africa.
The conditions have decimated livestock, forcing thousands of people in a region where many are farmers to settle in displacement camps.
“We have never experienced this before, now we only see dust storms. We are afraid that they will cover us all and become our graveyard,” Mohamed Adem, from Ethiopia’s Somali region, said in a WFP video.
Aerial images taken nearby showed a vast, dusty scrubby area strewn with cattle carcasses. In Kebele village, people had to tie ropes under the torso of a skinny cow to lift it up.
“Although it is not out of control, there is a serious drought in parts of Somali and in some parts of Oromia and the southern regional states,” Ethiopian government spokesman Legesse Tulu told Reuters. “So the WFP’s warning is pretty spot on.”
The drought is also spreading to parts of Kenya, south-central Somalia and Eritrea. Between 2010 and 2012, some 250,000 people starved to death in Somalia, half of them children.