The East African Food Crisis

The East African Food Crisis

Twelve million people in Eastern Africa are facing hunger every day, a number that continues to grow. The United Nations has declared famine in several parts of the Horn of Africa, including areas in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Stemming from a drought, thousands of people have been forced to flee from their homes and seek refuge in neighboring countries. Recently, rain has begun to fall again. What some might think of as relief has actually just added to the misery of those affected. The rains have inhibited the delivery of aid to rural areas and left those without adequate shelter wet and prone to illness.

Adding to the severity of this issue are the thousands of refugees moving from country to country, both due to the famine and political unrest in the area. Hundreds of people are crossing the border from Somalia to Kenya every day. The Kenya-Somalia border is already a no man’s zone, an area occupied by refugee camps and a source of conflict between Somalia’s Al-Shabab, an alleged Islamist sect, and Kenyan soldiers. Because of these mass migrations, the government of Kenya has no way to secure its borders and track the influx of new immigrants to their country. The area is very prone to acts of violence.

International relief organizations like Oxfam, the Red Cross, and UNICEF are on the ground in the affected regions bringing much-needed high protein meals, sanitary stations, and clean water supplies to victims suffering the effects of the famine. But the situation is becoming more desperate with each passing day. There are 525,000 refugees in Kenya and 230,000 in Ethiopia without regular access to meals. In Somalia, 750,000 people are at risk of death in the next four months if they do not find relief. This truly is a life and death situation, greater in size than any famine in recent history. It requires support from every major country in the world, and preventative measures need to be taken now to ensure a famine of this size never occurs again. There is more than enough food produced on the planet to feed every single one of our seven billion inhabitants. It is up to us, as citizens of the world, to make sure this happens.