Hunger claims a life every 48 seconds in the Horn of Africa

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The organizations Oxfam Intermón and Save the Children have published a report warning that more than 350,000 people could die if rich countries don’t act quickly.

The worst drought in 40 years and the unprecedented rise in food prices in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia means that one person dies of hunger every 48 seconds. The organizations Oxfam Intermón and Save the Children have published a report warning that more than 350,000 people could die if rich countries do not act quickly. “The situation is bleak,” warns Andrés Conde, general manager of the second entity, pointing to the deaths of children, pregnant women and the elderly.

Climate change has worsened the picture in East Africa. The prolonged drought caused by the La Niña phenomenon has depleted the economic reserves of the population and decimated their livestock. The health of those affected has deteriorated and has led to an unusual increase in the death rate. In 2011, a famine caused 260,000 deaths and today it is feared that half a million nationals are already in dire circumstances. Nor is it a crisis confined to the Horn of Africa. The file warns of the risk of death for a third of children under the age of five in the Sahel, about four million.

The staggering rise in the price of grains and fertilizers has exacerbated the crisis. Russia and Ukraine, the countries in conflict, are two of the largest exporters of these resources and the war has made supplies more expensive and interrupted shipments. The result was immediate. Since 2021, people in extreme hunger in the region have gone from 10 million to 23 million. In addition, the debt burden of the affected states has tripled, from 20.7 billion to 65.3 billion, forcing them to take on social protection funds to meet financial obligations and anticipate future bankruptcies.

National difficulties, the pandemic and conflict in Eastern Europe have become priorities for G-7 members, the report said, at the expense of their promises to poor countries. Ukraine has received about $16,000 million in aid, while only 93.1 million has been covered so far, 2% of the United Nations’ $4,400 million appeal to help fight famine in East Africa.

Five years ago, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya received $1.9 billion in emergency funds. “Despite mounting warning signs, the response from world leaders has been unfortunate: too late and too little, leaving millions of people in a catastrophic situation. Hunger is a political failure,” said Franc Cortada, director-general of Oxfam Intermón.

The responsibility of local governments is also highlighted in ‘A dangerous slowdown: the price of inaction’, the report presented at a news conference today. The delay in their action and even their denial of the magnitude of the crisis have exacerbated the scenario. Apart from climatic factors, the catastrophe shows the lack of adequate investment in agriculture and social security systems. But more officers are involved in the disaster. The analysis also points out that humanitarian organizations and donors do not prioritize support to indigenous counterparts, who in many cases are prepared for immediate action appropriate to the relevance of the phenomenon.

Source: La Verdad

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