A catastrophe is unfolding in eastern Africa which has had scant media attention. Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are experiencing the worst drought conditions for over 40 years – with the most recent ‘rainy’ season between March and May thought to be the driest yet.
This, combined with the effects of the war in Ukraine on food costs, and the ongoing economic impact of Covid-19, have led to disaster.
The most recent figures from the UN put the number of people experiencing hunger at 23 million – that’s around 4.6 times the entire population of the island of Ireland – and already an increase of 10 million people on 2021. And we’re just halfway through the year.
Speaking about the scale of the disaster, Orla Kilcullen, Programmes Director, Self Help Africa, said: “I would call on the people of Northern Ireland to help to end the death and devastation the drought is causing.
“In my time as Programmes Director with Self Help Africa, I’ve never seen anything like the scale of the disaster unfolding before our eyes.
“Our immediate priority has been to respond to those families and communities most at risk – with emergency aid, including vouchers to buy the essentials needed for survival.
“We’re also providing longer-term solutions for thousands of affected families, through ‘climate smart’ support such as drought-tolerant seeds and alternate crop varieties.
“Global warming means that unfortunately we are likely to see more frequent droughts and other extreme weather events.
“It’s why we are focussed on giving farming households the skills and resources to adapt, so that they can survive these crises in the years ahead.”
Self Help Africa is an international development organisation that works through agriculture to end hunger and poverty.
The organisation works in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
In 2018, Self Help Africa’s work in Africa supported millions of people to grow more food and earn a better living.
It has been working to end hunger and poverty amongst rural communities in Africa for over 30 years and seeks to empower local communities with training and knowledge, and to support small-holder farming families to produce more, earn more, and access new markets and better prices for the crops that they grow.
n If you would like to find out more information about Self Help Africa, about volunteering in your local area or in your local Self Help Africa shop, or if you would like to donate, please visit www.selfhelpafrica.org
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