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East Africa bloc warns deteriorating food insecurity


Tuesday September 3, 2019


NAIROBI, (Xinhua) — East African bloc IGAD on Monday warned over the current deteriorating food insecurity driven by lack of rains, conflict and economic crisis.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan are expected to remain among the world’s most severe food crises in terms of the people affected.

The third annual Global Report on Food Crises, said an estimated 27 million people, or 24 percent of the total food insecure people in the world, lived in seven of the eight countries in the IGAD region in 2018.

The worst-affected countries in 2018 in terms of acute food insecurity were Ethiopia (8.1 million), Sudan (6.2 million) and South Sudan (6.1 million).

In South Sudan, 59 percent of the population, or six out of ten people required urgent assistance to protect livelihoods, reduce food consumption gaps and malnutrition while in Somalia, more than one in five people (or 22 percent of the population) were acutely food insecure, the report said.

“It is time that specialized offices, member states and partners invest in resilience, adaptation to climate change, conflict prevention and sustaining peace to overcome vulnerability and address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition,” Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary said during the launch of a food security report in Nairobi.

Maalim said that additional investments in resilience and on adaptation to climate change are required to provide households with a buffer against future shocks and stop the cycle of recurring food crisis.

The report also called on member states to empower women, invest in nourishment and children education, improvement of rural infrastructure, reinforcement of social safety nets and risk transfer to build resilience in the region.

It also called on partners to collect and analyze data on vulnerable populations to ensure a targeted and integrated response in addressing humanitarian, development and peace nexus.

“Investment in climate adaptation, conflict prevention and sustaining peace will save lives and livelihoods, reduce structural vulnerabilities and address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition,” IGAD said.

The report notes that adverse climate conditions were the primary drivers in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti, affecting 11.9 million people in 2018.

During the same year, conflict and insecurity were the main drivers in South Sudan and Somalia leading to 8.8 million people acutely food insecure.

“An economic crisis was the main driver in Sudan, where escalating food prices, sharp currency depreciation and fuel shortages led 6.2 million people to be acutely food insecure in 2018,” the report added.

 

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