E Africa drought, war puts 14m at risk

Nairobi - Poor rains and multiple conflicts across eastern Africa have put over 14 million people in need of food aid, three years since extreme drought devastated the region, the United Nations said on Friday.

"The situation is very worrisome," said Matthew Conway, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for Eastern Africa.

"There are similarities to the situation that we saw leading to the 2011 crisis," he said, adding that the United Nations was appealing for $2.6bn in aid.

Conditions are still far from the crisis in 2011, when some 12 million people in four nations were hit by one of the worst droughts in 60 years, with parts of Somalia declared famine zones.

The 14.4 million people classified by the UN as food insecure are spread over nine nations, with the hardest hit countries including war-torn South Sudan and Somalia.

Aid workers say famine could be declared in South Sudan within weeks if fighting continues, while last month the UN warned Somalia is sliding back into an acute hunger crisis.

Arid northern Kenya, which like much of the region suffers from recurring droughts, is also struggling.

Oxfam said failed or poor rains, conflict and drought have contributed to the rising food insecurity in the region.

Brink of starvation

"It is imperative that we learn from the lessons of 2011," Oxfam's regional director Fran Equiza told AFP.

"Early intervention has the potential to save thousands of lives and keep millions more from the brink of starvation."

Some 2.7 million people are in dire need of supplies in Ethiopia and 1.3 million in Kenya, many of them refugees from neighbouring Somalia. Some 120 000 are in need in Djibouti.

In Sudan, five million people are at risk, while in South Sudan 3.5 million are struggling.

Tens of thousands are also in need in Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

More than 250 000 people, half of them children, died in the devastating 2011 famine in Somalia.

mantlekilo 2014/08/09 09:47:44 AM
Consider this....poor rain and multiple conflicts across Africa....BECAUSE there are 14 million people too many that the natural order of things is trying to eradicate to get balance. The problem with sending food aid etc is this ....these people survive on handouts and when tables turn they breed like proverbial flies again....and then the world cries when these newborns 'vrek'. The answer is simple ...don't send aid to countries that aid and abet these disasters.....their government exist on these handouts and so they make it easy and keep supplying the victims..!!!!!!It's true.
Wentzel Coetzer 2014/08/09 10:04:43 AM
It is very sad but it must be true that because they get fed there are more and more to be fed in the future just look at the numbers in the past it is for ever growing Like Abraham Lincoln said Give me a strong agriculture and i will give you a strong nation Only in Africa is this not understood If they get food make sure their governments do not control it as only those loyal to their corrupt state
Gary Kerwin 2014/08/09 10:46:07 AM
If you look at all the potential Africa has to offer, yet you have these types of problems how do you resolve these issues when the people running the countries in these areas don't care
Willem Proost 2014/08/09 05:44:33 PM
There is no solution to over population Do not breed if you can not feed Birth control ,unpopular but the only solution .
Leon Coetzee566 2014/08/09 06:06:47 PM
Ursula Nel ... the 'thing' in the picture hardly resembles a 'human' ... just saying
Goodman Bheki 2014/08/09 11:46:58 PM
It's so sad to see a child in this unnacceptable condition our President's must do something with our tax money to feed those who needs help.