Aid Groups Warn of Unfolding Famine Catastrophe in East Africa

The drought devastating the Horn of Africa has hit Somalia the hardest, with an estimated one-half of its 16 million people facing crisis-level food insecurity. Aid groups say hundreds of thousands of Somalis are at risk of starving to death, while hundreds of children are already dying of malnutrition.

The immediate trigger for the likely famine is three successive years of failed rains, leading to the worst drought in the Horn of Africa for four decades. Underlying that are rising temperatures from climate change. Compounding factors include longstanding political and social fractures, with decades of conflict and poor governance.

Even without famine, Somalia is the world’s hungriest nation, as defined by the Global Hunger Index. This is both a cause and a consequence of being the world’s second poorest nation. In 2020, the per capita gross national income (GNI) was U.S.$420 compared to Ethiopia’s U.S.$890 or Kenya’s U.S.$1840.

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