Wednesday, 29 June 2011


GENEVA (Xinhua) -- A food crisis triggered by severe drought and high prices threatens the livelihoods of over 10 million people in East Africa, a U.N. agency said Tuesday.
The Geneva-based United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said its statistics indicate that the number of East Africans affected by the food crisis has increased 30 percent since January. "The situation is continuing to deteriorate, and the number of people in need will continue to increase," OCHA spokesperson Elizabeth Byrs told reporters.

Eastern Africa is experiencing what has been described as the "most severe food crisis in the world today", with at least 10 million people affected in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Five East African countries have been affected by the drought, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. Some of the areas have experienced the driest period in 60 years, leading to a sharp fall in agricultural output.
"We are no longer on the verge of a humanitarian disaster; we are in the middle of it now. It is happening and no one is helping," Isaq Ahmed, the chairman of the Mubarak Relief and Development Organization (MURDO), a local NGO working in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, told IRIN on 28 June.

"Three years of little or no rain have led to this disaster. People have not recovered from their previous losses and now we have an even worse drought," he said. 

As a result, food prices have soared in those countries. OCHA reported a 30 to 80 percent rise in grain prices in Kenya, and a nearly 41 percent increase in Ethiopia.