ADDIS ABABA, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Urgent international funding is needed to assist communities in the Horn of Africa (HOA) experiencing the worst drought in 40 years and avert a major humanitarian crisis in the coming months, Concern Worldwide, an international campaigner, has warned.
More than 23 million people are currently in need of humanitarian support in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan, after four failed rainy seasons over the last two years, Concern Worldwide said in a statement issued late Monday.
"Worryingly, early forecasts indicate that the main rainy season this October-December will also fail," it said, adding that an estimated number of 5 million children in the region are malnourished, with 1.6 million experiencing severe malnutrition, putting their lives at risk.
During the drought of 2011 in the region, 13 million people needed humanitarian support, in a famine which resulted in 260,000 deaths in Somalia. Currently, there are 17 million people in need of humanitarian support in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia -- and this figure is expected to rise to 20 million by September, according to the organization.
On Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations appealed for 172 million U.S. dollars in assistance to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the Horn of Africa region.
FAO, in a press release statement, said it needs 219 million U.S. dollars to prevent a deterioration of food security conditions in the region, but only 47 million U.S. dollars of the needed funds have been mobilized so far. It highlighted the funds appeal is, in particular, focused on four drought epicenters in the region that are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
Drought conditions, particularly across many parts of the Horn of Africa region, are crippling food production, depleting pastures, disrupting markets, and even causing widespread human and animal deaths, according to the United Nations. ■