17 African Countries affected by El Niño and Climate Change – Hunger Alert!

Drought in Africa (Photo: UNICEF)

For two consecutive years, the combination of El Niño, the failure of seasonal rains, and the impact of Climate Change across East and Southern Africa is limiting food production and increasing hunger and malnutrition. 17 countries are affected, with a minimum of 39 million people suffering food insecurity. 

The 17 countries are: Angola (1.2 million); Burundi (3 million); Djibouti (227,463); Eritrea (450,000); Ethiopia (5.7 million); Kenya (2.6 million); Lesotho (159,959); Madagascar (978,000); Malawi (6.7 million); Mozambique (2 million); Rwanda (unknown); Somalia (6.2 million); Sudan (4.6 million); Swaziland (638,000); Tanzania (unknown); Uganda (390,000); Zimbabwe (4.1 million).

Malnutrition amongst rural children has increased and food shortages are driving up market prices.

It is not unlike what happened in Ireland between 1845-1847 when, following three consecutive potato crop failures, the Great ‘Famine’ climaxed in what is still remembered as Black ’47. The island saw death from starvation and hunger-related diseases soar which, in turn, accelerated a huge refugee crisis resulting in hundreds of thousands boarding boats to escape.

If the above countries are to avoid a descent into what could potentially become Black ’18 of the 21st Century, the world must decisively act now to avoid an imminent catastrophe.

Writing from Nairobe on St. Patrick’s Day, Obi Anyadike, Editor-at-Large and Africa Editor of the IRIN agency  published a feature article, ‘Drought in Africa 2017’, outlining the crisis.

Ominously, he predicts that in the worst cases, where conflict has made farming impossible and reduced humanitarian access, “there will be famine”.

Anyadike says “there are a number of strategies governments could adopt to address the situation: from improving the tradability of food, to coordinated climate change adaptation strategies, to meeting the African Union target of allocating 15 percent of budget spending to agriculture.”

Anyadike also quotes African researchers, Paul Adams and Edward Paice who argue: “No miraculous discoveries are required. But the start point is recognition of the unsustainability of a relentless rise in the cost of food throughout Africa; and the fact that while droughts and conflict may create price spikes, the root causes of this phenomenon lie with government.”

The full IRIN article may be accessed by clicking here:

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