Millions of people across East Africa are facing extreme levels of hunger and malnutrition.
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The region's food insecurity continues to be exacerbated by ongoing conflicts, severe drought, locust plagues and shortages of humanitarian funds. Caritas Australia supports African partners, including Caritas Ethiopia, in providing life-saving essentials to displaced families and communities that have been affected by this severe food insecurity.
According to what was sent to Fides, the most vulnerable families are fleeing their homes in search of clean water, food and arable land, leading to a significant increase in internally displaced persons.
As food supplies decrease, it is estimated that over 70% of the displaced will suffer hunger.
The moment is particularly serious for the Horn of Africa, denounces the Australian charitable association, we continue to struggle with the macroeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as against the worst locust plague in 25 years for Ethiopia and Somalia, and the worst in 70 years for Kenya, which destroyed crops across the region and left millions without their crops after months of hard work.
A recent UN report also highlighted the devastating impacts the conflict in Ukraine has had on vulnerable communities dependent on grain supplies from the country.
Together - the note specifies - Ukraine and Russia supply 30 percent of the world's wheat and barley, one fifth of corn and over half of sunflower oil.
There are many vulnerable communities in the Horn of Africa who continue to rely on this supply as an essential source of food, as a result of which the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has dealt another devastating blow to the food security of countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
Added to this is the devastating drought after three consecutive seasons of scarce rain, which exacerbated the shortage of food and water.
Last week, the World Food Program announced that 20 million people living in the Horn of Africa could suffer hunger this year due to the combined effects of these crises, unless urgent action is taken.
Caritas Australia has launched its heartfelt appeal for a fundraiser to provide immediate and long-term humanitarian assistance to communities affected by emergencies in Africa, including the crisis in the eastern region. All remaining funds are kept in the Africa Emergency Appeal so that we can respond to ongoing needs and future crises in the region. ■