Flooding, the Russo-Ukrainian war, and a two-year drought have roughly 28 million people facing extreme hunger in several East African countries.
According to Oxfam International, humanitarian aid is desperately needed to combat the hunger crisis, especially if the March rain doesn’t fall. Urgent action must be taken for countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan. But with the growing conflict in Ukraine, many fear that international attention won’t be given to these areas.
The Oxfam Executive Director, Gabriela Bucher, stated the following:
“East Africa faces a profoundly alarming hunger crisis. Areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and beyond are experiencing an unfolding full-scale catastrophe. Even if the rains do arrive this month, full recovery will be near impossible unless urgent action is taken today.”
“The repercussions of the Ukrainian conflict on the global food system will reverberate around the globe, but it is the poorest and most vulnerable people who will be among those hit hardest and fastest. Rising food prices are a hammer blow to millions of people who are already suffering multiple crises, and make the huge shortfall in aid potentially lethal.”
African countries indebted to foreign lenders already suffered spikes in global food and commodity prices. But the crisis in Ukraine is set to push prices beyond what East African governments can afford, which is why I continue to advocate for complete sovereignty on the continent.
Oxfam advised the following:
Countries in East Africa import up to 90% of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia. As disruptions begin to affect the global trade in grains, oil, transport and fertilizer, food prices are beginning to skyrocket. They hit an all-time high last week. In Somalia, the prices for staple grains were more than double those of the previous year.
In 2010-11, similar spikes in food prices pushed 44 million more people worldwide into extreme poverty, and indications are that the food-price inflation happening now will be even worse.
Here are some details regarding the East African countries in need of aid:
- 13 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia have been displaced searching for water and pasture.
- Roughly a million people in South Sudan are suffering from locusts outbreaks.
- A 70% drop in crop production and 3.1 million people suffering from hunger has forced Kenya to declare a national disaster.
- Ethiopia is experiencing its highest level of food insecurity since 2016.
- 90% of the country of Somalia is in severe drought, forcing more than 671,000 people to leave their homes.
- 8.3 million are predicted to face severe food insecurity in South Sudan.
It’s been reported that only 3% of $6bn of the UN 2022 humanitarian appeal has been given to Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan; Kenya only received 11% of theirs.
Oxfam International is partnering with local organizations to help over 1.5 million people who need water, cash, shelter, and sanitation facilities.
“East Africa cannot wait. The hunger crisis, fuelled by changes in our climate and COVID-19, is worsening by the day. Oxfam is calling on all donors to urgently fill the UN humanitarian appeal funding gap, and to get funds as quickly as possible to local humanitarian organisations. The governments and warring parties in conflict zones need to ensure humanitarian agencies like Oxfam can safely reach the most vulnerable people.”
Until Next Time…
Photo Credit: Africa News
As many as 28 million people across East Africa at risk of extreme hunger if rains fail again. Oxfam International. (2022, March 22). Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/many-28-million-people-across-east-africa-risk-extreme-hunger-if-rains-fail-again
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But owing to the Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard mindset, the prevailing collective attitude (implicit or subconscious) basically follows: ‘Why should I care — my kids are alright?’ or ‘What is in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support programs for other people’s troubled families?’ While some people will justify it as a normal thus moral human evolutionary function, the self-serving OIIIMOBY can debilitate social progress, even when social progress is most needed. And it seems this distinct form of societal penny wisdom but pound foolishness is a very unfortunate human characteristic that’s likely with us to stay.
Sadly, human beings can actually be consciously or subconsciously perceived and treated as though they’re disposable and, by extension, their suffering is somehow less worthy of external concern, even in democratic and relatively civilized nations. (It’s something similar to how human smugglers perceive their cargo when choosing that most immoral line of business.)
A somewhat similar inhuman(e) devaluation is also observable in external perceptions/attitudes [typically by the Western world], albeit perhaps on a subconscious level, toward the daily civilian lives lost in protractedly devastating war zones and famine-stricken nations; the worth of such life will be measured by its overabundance and/or the protracted conditions under which it suffers and/or even its lack of ‘productivity’. … No one should ever be considered disposable.