Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Eleven Million at Risk in Horn of Africa

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 19, 2011 (IPS) - "I have never seen anything like it. Many mothers have lost three or four children. It's a tragedy out here," Austin Kennan, regional director for the Horn of Africa for Concern Worldwide, told IPS from within the crisis zone.

The United Nations and humanitarian workers report that food insecurity is now at emergency levels across the Horn of Africa, affecting Kenya, Ethiopia and especially south Somalia, with 11 million people in dire need of emergency assistance due in part to a major prolonged drought.

"From our point of view, this is the worst drought we have seen in Africa since the 1950s, but it must be remembered that this is not the only factor that led to this level of crisis," Alun McDonald, media and communications officer for the Horn, East and Central Africa at Oxfam, explained to IPS.

"The effects of high staple food prices and the conflicts in the region over the last few decades have become all the more devastating due to the drought," said McDonald, who is based in Nairobi. "This combination has wreaked havoc in the region." More >>>