Scarcely any rain has fallen in the Horn of Africa since late 2020. In parts of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia precipitation has decreased by up to 70 percent. Some regions have even suffered their lowest rainfall of all time.
Germany has reacted quickly: the German Government is providing the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with 20 million euro to ensure that people and animals in areas of particular risk from hunger can receive swift assistance.
Drought and hunger – how are they connected?
Long periods of drought often trigger a chain reaction: firstly, agricultural yields fall. Climate-related harvest failures hit subsistence farmers especially hard – i.e. people who live on what they grow. The lower supply then pushes up the price of food and animal feed in the region.
Nomadic herders and stockbreeders are also facing increasing difficulties. For instance, 1.4 million livestock died in Kenya between October and December 2021 alone. Countless families have lost their sole source of income in this way. As the lack of rain also causes pastureland to dry up, nomadic herders and their animals are increasingly turning to arable land. Agriculturally-viable land is decreasing. Wells and irrigation systems are drying up. New conflicts are arising as a result of the competition for the shrinking number of fields, land and watering holes.
The consequences of armed conflicts in Ethiopia and Somalia as well as a locust plague in 2020 have aggravated the situation further: the United Nations estimates that around 13 million people are at risk from hunger at present solely due to droughts.
Assistance totalling 20 million euro: Concrete support from Germany
Germany has responded to the appeal from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations by making available 20 million euro. These funds are to be used, among other things, to provide more than 50,000 people in Somalia with feed for their livestock.
In Ethiopia, 26 dried up watering holes are to be restored. In Kenya, 15,000 families are to receive humanitarian cash transfers.
Africa: A focus of German humanitarian assistance
The German Government has expanded its humanitarian assistance in Africa in the last few years. In 2021, it made available a total of 564 million euro for assistance on the continent. Other priorities in addition to the Horn of Africa are the Sahel and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.