Funding shortage affects humanitarian assistance to East African droughts
2011 is the driest year in Eastern Africa in more than 15 years. According to the latest OCHA humanitarian report, drought remains a major threat in this area with no likelihood of improvement until early 2012. Worst-affected countries include Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti.
Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia experienced poor rainfall from March to May, which resulted in scarce pasture and increased water shortages. Food insecurity in these areas is growing as the rains are insufficient to sustain either people or their livestock and adequately recharge water sources. Inflation rates across the region are on the increase, with Kenya recording 14% inflation, the highest in two years, which is expected to increase further.
The number of people in acute livelihood crisis, about 8.8 million at present, is estimated to increase in the coming months. Overall food and nutritional conditions across pastoral and marginal agricultural areas will continue to deteriorate; late and below-average summer harvests are expected, as are early depletion of pasturelands and water, and continued high prices of food, water, and fuel.
In addition, due to reduced food reserves at household levels, the rate of school dropouts is increasing. In Ethiopia more than 280 schools remain closed as a result of the drought. Hygiene, sanitation, and health conditions are worsening as a result of the La Niña-induced drought, with increasing reports of waterborne diseases in Ethiopia.
Despite the drought and the threat to the livelihoods of millions in the region, emergency appeals throughout the region are only 51% funded. Funding gaps have been reported in all major humanitarian sectors. WFP is currently able to meet only one-third of the actual food needs in its areas of operation.