Food Insecurity Looming in East Africa amid Triple Threat

  • 50.6mln People Projected to be Food Insecure by the end of 2020

ADDIS ABEBA – A triple threat including COVID-19 global pandemic, desert locust invasion and climatic shocks could lead to a food security crisis in East Africa, according to a regional economic bloc IGAD.

An estimated 50.6 million people or approximately 20% of the population are at risk of being food insecure, according to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) analysis.

Igad says these people may require food assistance by the end of 2020 if urgent action is not taken.

Before the current triple crisis, Eastern Africa was already considered one of the most food-insecure regions of the world, with nearly 28 million people in need of food assistance.

The IGAD Food Security and Nutrition Response Strategy which was launched on Tuesday calls upon Member States and Partners to provide technical and financial support to IGAD to implement a series of short-term interventions to deal with the unfolding crisis due to the triple disasters.

“With millions of vulnerable populations at risk, IGAD has taken a stance to curb the casualties,” said Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD), IGAD Executive Secretary.

“This strategy puts in place guidelines for a coherent approach to supporting our citizens and the region,” he said. “We call on member states and partners to work together to provide political, technical and financial support to IGAD in the implementation of this comprehensive regional strategy”.

“Together we can preserve life.” said the Executive Secretary concluded.

Key facts

– Before the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the food security situation, an estimated 28 million people were food insecure (IPC Phase 3 or worse) in the IGAD region requiring urgent humanitarian assistance;

– The region hosts over 8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 4 million refugees and asylum seekers, all these require food and non-food assistance;

– The desert locust invasion is estimated to affect approximately 2 million people across the region, depriving them of their primary sources of food, and rendering them food insecure;

– 2.5 million people have been affected by floods across the region during the March to May season 2020.

– More rains are forecasted in the northern parts of the region between July and September 2020, which could result in more flooding.

– An estimated 21.4 million people in the region are anticipated to become acutely food insecure due to the economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic throughout this year. This has impacted mostly the urban poor, rural poor, and households dependent on informal sectors for their food and income sources.