Lokaale Lorubun (24) and her 9-month-old son Loonkwo live in Dakhaye village, Marsabit. Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern WorldwideLokaale Lorubun (24) and her 9-month-old son Loonkwo live in Dakhaye village, Marsabit. Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern WorldwideLokaale Lorubun (24) and her 9-month-old son Loonkwo live in Dakhaye village, Marsabit. Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern Worldwide

In pictures: the East Africa Hunger Crisis

In pictures: the East Africa Hunger Crisis
Story30 June 2022Mark Mukasa

Significant parts of East Africa are experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent years.

After four consecutive below-average rainy seasons since late 2020, major parts of East Africa are being affected by one of the most severe droughts in recent history. Over 23 million people face dangerous levels of hunger in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. This is likely to rise to 27 million by September.

As it stands, one person is estimated to die every 48 seconds due to hunger in the region. A total of 20 million people are at risk of starvation this year, with 5.7 million children across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in danger of becoming acutely malnourished. A further 1.7 million, will unfortunately become severely acutely malnourished.

Millions of people, no longer able to live off their land are leaving their homes to search for food and water as the situation worsens and as agriculture continues to falter. In Somalia alone, over 7 million people have been affected, with 1 million people leaving their homes and 3 million livestock have perished as a result of the drought.

East Africa has faced famine and drought in its past, with the 2011 crisis being particularly devastating. However, this current crisis is being exacerbate by climate change and the Ukraine conflict. It is important to note that the direct causes of the drought stem from La Niña, the regular and normal changes to tropical atmospheric circulation that affects wind pressure and rainfall. With that said, scientists believe that climate change is intensifying La Niña and leading to less reliability of rains during this period.

Additionally, much of East Africa and the rest of the world are reliant on Ukraine and Russia for their supply of wheat, with Somalia traditionally sourcing 90% of wheat from Russia and Ukraine. Amidst the conflict, the supply chain has struggled and prices and availability have soared.

Cibaado Geedi Cali opens a bag of sugar in her home in Qaloocato, Odweine, Somaliland. Cibaado and her family used to grow corn, watermelon, tomato and grain but they haven't had a harvest in two years -there just hasn't been enough rain. The last harvest was December 2020. Photo: Ed Ram/Concern Worldwide
Cibaado Geedi Cali opens a bag of sugar in her home in Qaloocato, Odweine, Somaliland. Cibaado and her family used to grow corn, watermelon, tomato and grain but they haven't had a harvest in two years -there just hasn't been enough rain. The last harvest was December 2020. Photo: Ed Ram/Concern Worldwide
A dead camel lies on the outskirts of Elgade, North Horr sub-county, Marsabit, Kenya. Photo: Ed Ram/Concern Worldwide
A dead camel lies on the outskirts of Elgade, North Horr sub-county, Marsabit, Kenya. Photo: Ed Ram/Concern Worldwide
When Ter Shet river in Ethiopia is in full flow, it separates the two sides of the settlement, however, due to ongoing drought in the area the bed is completely empty. Photo: Conor O'Donovan/Concern Worldwide
When Ter Shet river in Ethiopia is in full flow, it separates the two sides of the settlement, however, due to ongoing drought in the area the bed is completely empty. Photo: Conor O'Donovan/Concern Worldwide
A deserted settlement in Sheekh Samire in Odweine, Somaliland. Photo: Ed Ram/Concern Worldwide
A deserted settlement in Sheekh Samire in Odweine, Somaliland. Photo: Ed Ram/Concern Worldwide
90-year-old pastoralist Lobakari Dida picking bush fruit in Marsabit, Kenya. People like Lobakari have been pastoralists all their lives but now have no livestock. The four successive droughts have taken all their animals. Many people in Marsabit are now forced to survive on bush fruit which barely sustains them; they must walk deep into the bush to find the small fruits which take days of cooking to break down into an edible, but not very nutritional, food source. Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern Worldwide
90-year-old pastoralist Lobakari Dida picking bush fruit in Marsabit, Kenya. People like Lobakari have been pastoralists all their lives but now have no livestock. The four successive droughts have taken all their animals. Many people in Marsabit are now forced to survive on bush fruit which barely sustains them; they must walk deep into the bush to find the small fruits which take days of cooking to break down into an edible, but not very nutritional, food source. Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern Worldwide
Bishaaro has twelve children, three of whom are under five.
Bishaaro has twelve children, three of whom are under five. Feeding such a large family has become increasingly difficult. Bishaaro and her husband are reliant on their goats for income, but the ongoing drought has decimated their herd. Her youngest child Abdihafid is receiving treatment for malnutrition at the local health facility. Photo: Conor O'Donovan/Concern Worldwide
Concern staff members meet Everlyn Ekiru and her one-year-old Josephine at the local health clinic at Loiyangalani. Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern Worldwide
Concern staff members meet Everlyn Ekiru and her one-year-old Josephine at the local health clinic at Loiyangalani. The local health centre is supported by Concern. The clinic provides nutrition services for severely and moderately malnourished children and breastfeeding and pregnant mothers. Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern Worldwide

Our response

We have been monitoring this crisis as it has been developing, and to help alleviate the situation, we have been supporting health clinics provide nutrition assistance. Concern has also been delivering emergency cash transfers to affected communities to help people buy nutritious food.

To strengthen resilience and improve access to adequate and safe water, Concern has been supporting communities by repairing broken boreholes and shallow wells.

To support agriculture, we are vaccinating livestock against diseases in an attempt to keep them alive during the drought.

We’re fighting to prevent the situation getting worse, but we need your help.

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