Home NewsAfrica 5 million people displaced in East Africa to experience deeper hunger

5 million people displaced in East Africa to experience deeper hunger

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

United Nations humanitarians have warned that five million displaced people across eastern Africa will fall deeper into hunger as food rations dwindle due to humanitarian resources being stretched to the limit.

The humanitarians warned that the population will experience hunger due to shortage of food supplies as the world grapples with a toxic cocktail of conflict, climate shocks, and COVID-19.

For instance, food insecurity is likely to rise by seven per cent across South Sudan in the coming months, compared to 2021, according to a new UN report on food security, issued on Wednesday.

The report, however, led the humanitarians to renew their call for more humanitarian and livelihoods assistance to stave off looming hunger and enhance resilience.

UN World Food Programme (WFP) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a statement jointly issued called for greater humanitarian assistance and livelihoods support for the affected population.

“Refugees and internally displaced people are at the centre of the food ration cuts, compounding a desperate situation for millions of people uprooted from their homes and often relying on aid to survive.

“More and more children below the age of five years are experiencing high levels of stunting and wasting, as they lack the nutrients to grow and develop,’’ Clementine Nkweta-Salami, UNHCR’s Regional Bureau Director for the East, Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes said.

“Families do not know where their next meal will come from and are taking on huge debt, selling off what they can, or sending their children to work.

“The risk of domestic violence is rising. Getting people out of harm’s way and shielding them from serious protection risks also requires that their food needs are adequately addressed,” the director added.

According to the WFP, a sharp increase in food and fuel costs and conflict-caused displacement are being compounded by a worsening climate crisis.

Globally, it stated that floods and droughts are becoming more frequent and intense, severely impacting countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan, and worsening food insecurity.

“The unfortunate reality is that eastern Africa is confronted with a year of unprecedented humanitarian needs, driven by severe climate shocks, ongoing conflict and instability, and surging food and fuel prices,” Michael Dunford, WFP’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa said.

“The growth in needs here mirrors what we see happening around the globe and we implore the world not to turn its back on this region and, in particular, the extremely vulnerable communities of refugees who have limited access to livelihoods and rely on WFP to survive.”

In spite of efforts to make resources stretch through prioritisation schemes, the agencies are having to prioritise food assistance for the most vulnerable families.

According to them, the sheer number of refugees in need of support has grown, along with the gap between resourcing and needs.

In the past decade the number of refugees in eastern Africa has nearly tripled, from 1.82 million in 2012 to almost five million today including 300,000 new refugees last year alone.

The growth in refugee numbers has not been matched by a growth in resources, forcing WFP to make difficult decisions about who receives food assistance and who goes without.

More than 70 per cent of refugees in need, do not receive a full ration due to funding shortfalls.

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