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Regional Drought Response Plan For the Horn of Africa (May – December 2022)

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In January 2022, the World Food Programme (WFP) released a six-month Drought Response Plan for the Horn of Africa.

This Plan outlined the critical humanitarian needs and WFP’s accompanying relief requirements necessary to respond to the already severe drought. Now, in May 2022, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated so severely, that this Drought Response Plan has been updated to reflect the increased relief requirements, both in terms of more people in need and additional relief programmes. The revised Plan covers WFP’s drought response from May until the end of the year and adds Djibouti’s drought-related needs to the severely affected countries of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
These increased needs have been driven by a continued lack of adequate rains, record temperatures and severe underfunding of humanitarian appeals to date. The number of food insecure driven by the drought has increased from some 12-13 million in January 2022 to over 15 million now in May. Moreover, should the current rains fail, and humanitarian relief is not rapidly increased, the number of food insecure could rise further to 20 million by the end of 2022.

The nutrition status of the most vulnerable affected by drought has also continued to deteriorate. In Somalia, for example, Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates are at ‘Emergency’ levels in 45 out of 74 districts,1 and 1.4 million children (near half of Somalia’s under 5 population) are estimated to be suffering from acute malnutrition.2 The drought and lack of adequate assistance is also fueling protection risks, particularly for girls and women, as families are displaced in search of food and water, children drop out of school (or schools close altogether), and negative coping strategies such as child marriage and transactional sex increase.

Despite these enormous humanitarian requirements, funding has not kept pace. Less than 20 percent of what WFP required in January has so far been received and the needs have since dramatically escalated. Accordingly, WFP is being forced to prioritize who receives assistance and who goes hungry. Indeed, resource shortfalls are so severe that WFP, in the midst of this devastating drought, has been forced to cut entire programmes. In Somalia for example, despite the incredibly concerning nutrition situation, WFP has been forced to completely halt malnutrition prevention programmes so as to allocate existing resources solely to the treatment of malnutrition.

WFP is already on the ground, providing millions of people with life-saving assistance every month. However, WFP needs financial support to ensure this work can continue. This document provides an overview of WFP’s regional response to the drought and accompanying financial requirements throughout 2022. WFP is urgently calling for USD 982 million to help avert a major humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa and support almost 7.8 million people affected by the drought.

These requirements are in line with the 2022 Somalia and Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP), as well as the Kenya Drought Flash Appeal. Responding now is necessary to prevent the depletion of productive assets, the dramatic worsening of food security, escalating levels of acute malnutrition and ultimately save lives. Only by addressing the multiple needs of boys, girls, men and women can the impacts of drought be effectively mitigated.