Across the Horn of Africa, at least 36.1 million people have now been affected by the drought which began in October 2020, including 24.1 million in Ethiopia, 7.8 million in Somalia and 4.2 million in Kenya. This represents a significant increase from July 2022 (when an estimated 19.4 million people were affected), reflecting the impact of the drought in additional geographic areas of Ethiopia, as well as the rising needs in Somalia.
Many drought-affected communities are struggling to cope with the cumulative consequences of other shocks, including conflicts and insecurity, climate change (flooding, drought, and food insecurity), COVID-19, ongoing impacts of desert locusts on agropastoral communities, and economic factors affecting supply chain and inflation increasing the costs of basic goods and services.
The impact of the Ukraine crisis continues to compound all these shocks with global wheat prices at a record high in June 2022 and the international community redirecting its financial and humanitarian support to the Ukraine emergency. Internally Displaced People (IDPs), refugees, asylum seekers, returnees, stateless persons and migrants are at a heightened risk of food insecurity as many have left behind assets, lost their social capital, and livelihoods.
A recent UNHCR Standardised Expanded Nutrition Survey (SENS) reported “Critical” levels of child malnutrition (wasting, stunting and anemia) amongst refugee children, specifically in refugee sites in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda.
This situation comes in the wake of humanitarian funding shortfalls that have contributed to food ration cuts and amplified the cross-sectional protection needs of the most vulnerable.