Drought in the Horn of Africa: rapid response and mitigation plan to avert a humanitarian catastrophe
The Horn of Africa is facing the third severe La Niña‑induced drought episode in a decade, and the region is on the verge of a catastrophe if humanitarian assistance is not urgently scaled up. Drought is particularly impacting Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia and exacerbating the humanitarian situation in a region characterized by underlying vulnerabilities and already suffering from the impact of multiple shocks since late 2019. These include a desert locust upsurge (the first in 70 years), the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) pandemic and its socioeconomic implications, abnormally high food prices, and protracted conflict and insecurity. Drought is among the most devastating of natural hazards – crippling food production, depleting pastures, disrupting markets, and, at its most extreme, causing widespread human and animal deaths. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) rapid response and mitigation plan for the Horn of Africa describe the set of activities that should be prioritized from the recent Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) for Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as those included in the Kenya Drought Flash Appeal, in order to save the livelihoods and therefore the lives of 1.5 million rural people across the three countries. The timeframe for the plan is January to June 2022 (six months). FAO is urgently requesting USD 129.9 million to provide critical assistance to rural populations, prevent the further worsening of hunger and malnutrition, safeguard livelihoods, as well as prevent displacement and further increases in humanitarian needs in 2022.