Nairobi: The number of people facing crisis-level food insecurity in the Eastern Africa region has increased by 18 per cent to 36.5 million in October from 30.9 million a year ago, UN humanitarian agency said on Tuesday. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Eastern Africa said in its latest report released in Nairobi that repeated episodes of drought across the region, conflicts and insecurity, high stable food prices and high refugee/displacements across the region are the main drivers of food insecurity, Xinhua reported.
"An estimated 36.5 million people are facing crisis-level food insecurity and above Integrated Phase Classification (IPC Phase 3+) and need humanitarian assistance. This is a 18 per cent increase compared to 30.9 million people one year ago," OCHA said in its Food Security and Nutrition Situation report. The UN report warns that food security conditions are expected to deteriorate in Burundi and Rwanda until the end of the year due to the lean season. The report says food security is expected to improve in Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda in coming months as households harvest seasonal crops.
The main areas of concern are South Sudan, Burundi, southeastern Ethiopia, pastoral areas of Kenya, and parts of Somalia and DRC. The report says nutrition situation continues to be of concern in the region based on admission trends in several countries, despite ongoing response efforts. "Urgent multi-sectoral humanitarian action is needed to respond to alarming levels of malnutrition in Somalia and Kenya to prevent further deterioration," the UN said. In Kenya, says the report, some 420,674 children require treatment of acute malnutrition while in Ethiopia, 376,000 children with severe acute malnutrition are expected in 2017.
The UN report says some 1.2 million children in Somalia are projected to be malnourished over the next one year period, including 231,829 being severely malnourished. "In Sudan, 2 million people are acutely malnourished including 550,000 who are severely malnourished. In South Sudan more than 1 million children under age 5 are estimated to be acutely malnourished," OCHA said. (IANS)