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Unprecedented drought brings threat of starvation to millions in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia (Issue Date: 9 June 2022)

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Climate change and La Niña have caused an unprecedented multi-season drought, punctuated by one of the worst March-to-May rains in 70 years


  • Rainfall deficits during the recent March-April-May 2022 rainy season have been the most severe in at least the last 70 years in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The ongoing, four-season drought has been the most extensive and persistent event since 1981. Grave concerns are raised by elevated risks of a fifth below-average rainy season in October-November-December.

  • This exceptional four-season drought, amplified by exceptionally warm air temperatures and increased evaporative demand and desiccation, has been devastating to livelihoods and produced repetitive, debilitating and cumulative shocks to herds, crops, water availability, and household incomes.

  • More than seven million livestock have died and millions of people face the threat of starvation. The impacts of the severe drought on livelihoods will intensify rapidly in the coming months due to the effects of the extremely poor March-April-May rains.

  • At present, humanitarian response plans are massively under-funded. The Somalia 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan for food security is only 20 percent funded to date. Only 34 percent of the required USD $139.5 million for the October 2021-March 2022 period of the Kenya Drought Flash Appeal was met and funding requirements for April-October 2022 period have risen further to USD $180.7 million. Immediate action is required to scale-up and sustain humanitarian assistance through at least mid-2023 to prevent rising levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition, mitigate the loss of life, and avert the Risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5)