Hundreds of thousands of children in East Africa risk dying of hunger


Nairobi, KENYA: The lives of over 700,000 children in South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya are in danger bearing the fact that drought has become a national crisis in these nations.

According to humanitarian organization World Vision, the lives of these children are now hanging in the balance because they suffer from acute malnutrition.

“Children are already dying in South Sudan and Somalia, many more are on the brink in northern Kenya and parts of Ethiopia. We cannot wait any longer, “warns Christopher Hoffman, World Vision’s Director of Humanitarian Response in East Africa.

Mr. Hoffman said that the affected countries must get lessons from the famine of 2011 that killed about 260,000 people.

“We must act now and act fast to save lives. The situation in Somalia is deteriorating quickly as well, with acute levels of food insecurity increasing each day ,” he continued.

The United Nations UN has described the current hunger crisis affecting South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria as the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.

Northern Bahr El Gazhel in South Sudan is sliding into catastrophic levels of hunger, with it fast approaching famine levels, while malnutrition is spiking in Turkana where nearly 55 per cent of children under 5 years are
suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Stephen O’Brien, UN Under Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council recently that “Without collective and coordinated efforts people will simply starve to death and many more will suffer and
die from disease.”

During his recent visit to Kenya, UN Secretary General Antonio Gueterres said that drought had had a devastating impact in the economy and in the lives of the Somalis.

“And in these tragic circumstances, there has been rapid spread of diarrhoea and cholera killing people, making people suffer enormously, with a clear need of support from the international community,” Mr. Gueterres stated.

The Government has since declared the current drought affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties and pockets of other areas a national disaster.

President Kenyatta during the announcement called on all stakeholders to support the Government by up scaling drought mitigation programmes.

The President also called on the local and international partners to come in and support the Government’s efforts to contain the situation which has not only affected human beings and livestock but also the wild animals.

“Support from our partners would complement Government efforts in mitigating the effects of drought,” said the President.