Millions of people could be plunged back into severe levels of hunger and malnutrition in east Africa.
Thursday 3 May 2012
Kheyra holds her daughter Dahira outside their home in north-east Kenya. Dahira was admitted to
Save the Children’s clinic for severely malnourished children where she was treated by our trained health workers.
Poor rains, crop shortages and difficulties in reaching conflict-affected areas could wipe out any improvements made following east Africa's catastrophic food crisis last year.
Farmland and livestock across east Africa was devastated by the 2011 crisis, which claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Despite a delay in action, the huge relief effort, followed by good rains in the autumn, saw levels of hunger begin to drop.
Progress under threat
Now, that tentative progress is now under threat and families in east Africa are facing the possibility of a second summer of extreme hunger.
Matt Croucher, Save the Children’s East Africa Humanitarian Director, said: “There is a very real chance that poor rains, crop failures and conflict will mean that the recovery that began in the autumn was a false dawn, and the region will experience a double-dip hunger crisis.
"Decisive action could prevent a repeat of last year’s crisis; we must prepare for the worst, not just hope for the best.”
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A worrying forecast
In Kenya, forecasts of poor rains in the arid North East are prompting fears of rapid deterioration in food security.
In Ethiopia, rains are already late in some areas, leading to water shortages and the failure of key crops.
In Somalia, millions of people left vulnerable by last year’s crisis will face starvation unless more money is raised to fund emergency work.
Delay costs lives
The outlook for east Africa is now so serious that food security experts put the odds of repeat of rain failure on the scale of 2011 at one in three.
Despite similar predictions of widespread hunger last year, significant funding was not made available until a full-blown crisis was underway.
Research carried out by Save the Children and Oxfam found the delay cost thousands of lives and millions of dollars in aid money.
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