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Drought and Pest Attacks Threaten Famine All Over East Africa

Feb. 15, 2017 (EIRNS)—The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has declared that millions of citizens in the Horn of Africa face food shortages. Owing to a persistent lack of rainfall between October and December, as many as 11 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are in dire need of food assistance, Al Jazeera reported on Feb. 14. Added to the drought crisis is the arrival of fall armyworms, agricultural pests that have decimated staple crops such as maize in southern Africa. Public Financial International (PFI) newsletter in its article today said a regional emergency meeting kicked off today in Zimbabwe to decide how to deal with these pests, as its arrival will exacerbate the impact of a severe drought in the region and spread elsewhere on the continent.

PFI added that the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) said that, in addition to the crisis in the Horn,

"In the conflict-hit South Sudan today, another 2.8 million people are in need of urgent food assistance. At the same time, 18 million people are in need in war-torn Yemen, and approximately 5.1 million are acutely food insecure in north eastern Nigeria."

PFI continued,

"Somalia, where two seasons of drought led to failed harvests, left three-quarters of the country’s livestock dead and more than half of its population in acute need of food, is perhaps the worst hit."

The FAO said on Feb. 14 that grain prices in some market towns in Somalia doubled in January from a year earlier, with weather forecasts predicting another poor performance in the next rainy season.

"Maize prices have also doubled in Arusha, Tanzania, since early 2016, and are 25% higher than 12 months earlier in the country’s largest city, Dar-es-Salaam. In South Sudan, food prices are between two and four times higher than a year earlier, and maize is up by 75% in Uganda and 30% in Kenya. The price of livestock has also risen by between 30% and 60% in the past twelve months in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia,"

PFI’s Emma Rumney wrote.

"This is the worst situation we have seen in the region since 2011. We have an opportunity to prevent suffering of a similar scale, but only if we act now," said IFRC’s, regional director for Africa, Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Rumney quoted her as saying.

"Conflict, as in the ... countries above, and the super strong El Niño weather event of the past two years, which caused severe drought across numerous African nations, are the main drivers of the crisis,"

Rumney wrote interestingly, not blaming the omnipresent anthropogenic climate change hoax.