The worst drought in more than 40 years could spread to the fifth failed monsoon season as millions of people in the Horn of Africa face severe starvation, the United Nations and humanitarian agencies warned on Tuesday.
The March-May monsoon could be the driest on record, destroying livelihoods and deepening the humanitarian emergency in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, with a risk of famine in Somalia, they said in a joint statement.
The October-December monsoon season is also likely to fail.
Drought has been accompanied by rising global food and fuel prices, which have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, which has affected millions of people across the continent.
An estimated 16.7 million people are currently facing severe food insecurity in East Africa and that number could rise to 20 million by September, the statement said.
Clare Nulis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization, said: “There is a risk of famine in East Africa. It is due to four failed rains.”
“We are particularly concerned that the situation is going to get worse,” he told a briefing in Geneva.
Aid agencies are trying to avoid a repeat of the famine a decade ago that left millions dead.
The United Nations and its agencies said in a joint statement that “immediate action is needed to save lives and prevent starvation and death.”
“However, current appeals to respond to the drought remain largely meaningless.”
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