Climate crisis

Drought and hunger in eastern Africa.


March 2023

Millions of people across eastern Africa are facing a severe hunger crisis as an ongoing drought causes the driest conditions seen in decades and worsens widespread food shortages.

We urgently need your help to provide farmers, who rely on rainfall to feed their livestock, grow crops and make a living from agriculture, with farm inputs like drought-tolerant seeds and support to prepare them for future climate extremes.

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The most extensive and persistent drought in decades hit the Horn of Africa in October 2020 due to poor rainfall and is continuing to ravage the region.

Farmers and their families have been living without sufficient food, water and crops for the last two and a half years and with forecasts of a sixth poor rainy season, the situation is expected to worsen well into mid-2023.

Both Ethiopia and Kenya are in the emergency Phase 4 as measured by the IPC Acute Food Insecurity Phases.
Phase 4 refers to situations where households either have large food consumption gaps, which are reflected in very high acute malnutrition and excess mortality, or are able to mitigate large food consumption gaps but only by employing emergency livelihood strategies and asset liquidation.

If rains continue to fail this year, Ethiopia and Kenya face the risk of moving into the fifth and final phase of food insecurity: famine.

This will be the sixth consecutive failed rainy season in the region, which is now on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.

The southern and eastern pastoral areas of Ethiopia, north and eastern parts of Kenya, northern Uganda and a large part of south-central Somalia are the worse affected areas, with over 30 million people needing urgent humanitarian food assistance.

The deterioration in condition and deaths of many livestock, water shortages and record-low vegetation conditions are just some of the results of this devastating drought, which is leading to mass hunger, disease outbreaks, acutely malnourished children, displacement and diverse economic shocks such as rising fuel and fertiliser prices, currency depreciation and inflation.

While help has arrived through humanitarian assistance to mitigate some food shortages, assistance is outpaced by the scale and severity of the situation. What's more, although certain regions were able to plant some crops between September 2022 and February 2023, it was a significantly below-average harvest. Farmers are likely to exhaust their food stocks atypically early and continue to face immense difficulty accessing food.

How Farm Africa is helping

In the Borena zone in the Oromia National Regional State of Ethiopia, where the drought has dried up pasture and livestock are suffering from acute shortages of water and land, Farm Africa and SOS Sahel Ethiopia delivered emergency supplies of animal forage, thanks to funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, in the hope to save livestock.

But we need your help to do more.

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