Millions Face Acute food Insecurity in East Africa

ADDIS ABEBA – Below-average rains, conflict and economic crisis continue to drive food insecurity in East Africa affecting millions of people, says a new report.

The report was released by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) on Monday.

A regional first, the report draws special attention to the plight of millions of people experiencing acute levels of food and nutrition insecurity in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda.

It says an estimated 27 million people – or 24% of the total food insecure people in the world – lived in seven of the eight countries in the IGAD region in 2018.

The worst-affected countries in terms of acute food insecurity were Ethiopia (8.1 million), Sudan (6.2 million) and South Sudan (6.1 million).

In comparison to peak 2018 levels, updated projections for 2019 as of July indicate that food insecurity levels will likely be higher in South Sudan and Sudan, the report says.

The level in Ethiopia and Uganda will remain stable while the rate will be lower in Kenya and Somalia,  it claims.

Main drivers 

The regional bloc, IGAD, says additional investments in resilience and on adaptation to climate change are required to provide households with a buffer against future shocks and stop the cycle of recurring food crisis.

“The main drivers of acute food insecurity and malnutrition in our region are climate, conflict and economic instability,” said Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary at the launch.

“I call on IGAD specialized offices, Member States and partners to invest further in resilience, adaptation to climate change, conflict prevention and sustaining peace to overcome vulnerability and address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition,” he added.

The regional report serves as an important milestone towards delivering the commitment of the IGAD to fight acute hunger and malnutrition in the region.

It is based on the third annual Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2019) produced by the FSIN, a global initiative to improve food security and nutrition measurement and analysis, co-sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).