New York (Caasimada Online) – In an impassioned plea, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, has urged nations to act promptly to avert a looming catastrophe in the Horn of Africa.
According to Guterres, the region, comprising countries such as Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan, is battling its most severe drought in 40 years.
The Horn of Africa has been grappling with this devastating drought since late 2020, and the situation has progressively worsened.
Five consecutive seasons devoid of rain have resulted in desolated crops and the death of millions of livestock.
This disaster has plunged over 43 million individuals in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya into desperate need of immediate and significant assistance for their survival.
In a startling revelation by the UN’s humanitarian agency, OCHA, over 23.5 million people are surviving under acute food insecurity conditions in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.
Moreover, in Somalia, 6.7 million people are struggling to find food, and displaced individuals have risen to a staggering 3.8 million.
The situation is further exacerbated, with over half a million children suffering severe malnutrition.
Climate crisis: An unpaid debt
Climate scientists from the World Weather Attribution (WWA) group have strongly linked the drought to greenhouse gas emissions’ effects in an April report.
“People in the region are paying an unconscionable price for a climate crisis they did nothing to cause,” commented Guterres, highlighting the injustice of their plight.
In a recent New York conference, Guterres expressed dissatisfaction with the current level of funding for the region.
He stated that only 20 percent of the UN’s humanitarian response plan for the Horn of Africa was funded, amounting to a meager $1.63 billion pledged.
“Without an immediate and major injection of funding, emergency operations will grind to a halt, and people will die,” Guterres cautioned.
The Secretary-General appealed for global solidarity and an urgent donation of $7 billion to help those in need across the region, reminding everyone of last year’s successes.
Guterres mentioned, “Last year, donor countries delivered vital help to 20 million people in the region and helped avert a famine.”
First signs of hope
The conference witnessed a step in the right direction with Islamic Relief Worldwide, a British-based NGO, pledging $18 million to alleviate the crisis.
Despite this encouraging development, the overall response to the drought remains woefully insufficient.
Guterres ended his appeal with a call for immediate action, saying, “We owe them solidarity.
We owe them assistance. And we owe them a measure of hope for the future. This means immediate action to secure their survival.
And it means sustained action to help communities across the Horn adapt and build resilience to climate change.”