The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) welcomed a €20 million contribution from Germany to save lives and livelihoods of the most severely drought-affected farmers and herders in the Horn of Africa. It is a vital contribution which comes at a critical time in the response to the drought emergency.
An extended, multi-season drought is driving acute food insecurity across the region, with 12 to 14 million people now on the brink of starvation as crops continue to wither and animals weaken. The situation is further exacerbated by escalating resource-based conflicts as competition for water and pasturelands increases, the COVID-19 pandemic and lingering consequences of a large-scale locust invasion.
FAO and its partners have recently warned that in a worst-case scenario in which rains completely fail in the coming months and agricultural-dependent communities do not receive swift aid, the number of highly food insecure people could climb to 15 to 20 million – with some worst-affected households facing “catastrophic” hunger conditions.
Germany’s support represents a significant contribution to FAO’s Horn of Africa Drought Response Plan calling for over $138 million to help rural communities cope with the looming crisis – with $130 million of that total urgently needed immediately for activities between now and June.
“We would like to thank the Government of Germany for the generous contribution, which will help provide efficient and effective assistance to highly-vulnerable, agriculture-reliant communities in the most impacted areas,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.
“Boosting agriculture and sustaining rural livelihoods is the most impactful way of averting a large-scale food security crisis. The current funding gap is still substantially hampering our efforts to provide immediate and adequate life-saving and livelihood support to those who need it most. It is not too late to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in 2022, but resources must be made available immediately,” he added.
Time-critical drought response
With the new funding, FAO will support more than 115 000 vulnerable rural households in three most drought affected countries - Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The aim is to provide access to food and other basic goods and services including water for animals and irrigation, veterinary services and education, while protecting and restoring productive livelihoods and building back self-reliance in drought affected communities.
More specifically, in Ethiopia, FAO will support 65 000 households through providing livestock vaccines, construction of 30 veterinary health clinics, rehabilitation of water points, and implementing slaughter destocking.
In Kenya, 35 000 households will receive veterinary care to sustain their animals and highly nutritious range cubes to feed livestock, which enable animals to continue to provide milk, as a source of food and income for communities. In addition, FAO will carry out cash transfers to ensure the most vulnerable can access basic foods and services.
In Somalia, the Organization will assist more than 16 500 households through cash transfers and cash-for-work programmes. The funds will be used to distribute fodder packages, drought-resistant seeds, which will be complemented with irrigation support.
FAO’s plan to avert hunger crisis
Under FAO’s new Horn of Africa Drought Response Plan, $130 million is urgently needed to provide time-critical assistance to 1.5 million highly vulnerable people in communities within drought-hit regions of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The plan supports the production of up to 90 million litres of milk and up to 40 000 tonnes of staple food crops in the first part of 2022.