FAO senior officials visit affected areas in the rush to save lives and livelihoods.
NAIROBI, Kenya, February 11, 2022 – An extended, multi-season drought is driving acute food insecurity in the Horn of Africa, with 12 to 14 million people now at risk as crops continue to wither and animals weaken, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and partners warned today.
Resource-based conflicts are escalating as competition for water and pasturelands increases, and malnutrition rates are rising in affected areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, highlighting the need to sustain the rural livelihoods that underpin peace and food security across the Horn.
At a briefing to international donors in Nairobi, FAO and its partners reported that the food security outlook in the region will be highly dependent on the performance of the upcoming rainy season, with forecasts currently uncertain.
In a worst-case scenario in which the rains completely fail and agricultural-dependent communities do not receive adequate support, the number of highly food insecure people could climb to 15-20 million – with some worst-affected households facing “catastrophic” hunger conditions.
“Drought cycles are intensifying and occurring with greater frequency. Immediate humanitarian action to support farmers and herders is needed now,” said Bechdol, after visiting Kenyan communities where goats and cows are dying from lack of water and pasture. “The international community has a narrow window to prevent a major humanitarian catastrophe here,” she said.
“Alarm bells have already been rung – scaled-up action is needed now,” said Phiri. “FAO carried out anticipatory actions during the latter half of 2021 in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia to mitigate the impacts of drought on over one million rural people and so far a crisis has been mitigated. But much more is needed as the situation deteriorates and as crisis looms,” he said.
A plan to help rural families cope
Under FAO’s new Horn of Africa Drought Response Plan, $130 million is urgently needed to provide time-critical assistance to highly vulnerable communities in drought-hit regions of the three countries. The plan supports the production of up to 90 million litres of milk and up to 40 000 tonnes of staple food crops in the first part of 2022, putting over one million highly-food insecure people on a safe footing.
For pastoralist families, FAO aims to deliver animal feed and nutritional supplements, provide mobile veterinary health clinics, transport 10 000 litre collapsible water reservoirs to remote areas, and upgrade existing wells to run on solar power.
For farming families, FAO aims to distribute drought-tolerant early-maturing varieties of sorghum, maize, cowpea and other beans and vegetables.
FAO is also carrying out cash transfers and cash-for-work programmes to ensure the most vulnerable can access food.
Additional new analysis published on Thursday from the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) for Somalia, hosted by FAO, shows that in Somalia alone, the number of acutely food insecure people (IPC Phase 3 and 4) is expected to increase from 3.5 to 4.1 million between January and March 2022, if humanitarian assistance is not received on time.
FAO’s Deputy Director-General, Beth Bechdol; Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, David Phiri; and Director of Emergencies and Resilience, Rein Paulsen have just completed a visit to Kenya to raise awareness on the drought and see FAO’s vital response in action, including in Isiolo and Marsabit counties in the north.
“The executive secretary of IGAD requested the President to intervene and help IGAD find a long-lasting solution to conflicts in some of its member states and he agreed to do so, they asked the President to intervene and help resolve the conflicts because of his experience in leadership and conflict resolution but he said he can’t do it as singlehandedly, he needs to engage other leaders in the region” – Mr Faruk Kirunda, the deputy presidential press secretary of IGAD (01.01.2022) – (Stephen Otage & Paul Adude – ‘Museveni to mediate Sudan, Ethiopia conflict’ 02.02.2022, Daily Monitor).
This is actual disbelief. Not that this idea is anything new. They used President Yoweri Tibuhurwa Kaguta Museveni in the Inter-Burundian Dialogue, which was a travesty of a diplomatic mission and also used his tricks in the 2018 in South Sudan. Therefore, some might say his the right guy, but I beg to differ.
This man has sent soldiers all across the board. This President has used warfare to help his causes. To install puppets and his head of state’s elsewhere. Museveni have used violence, warfare and fierce conflicts to get on top. It is not like Museveni came with peace and peace endured. No, he prolonged warfare in Northern Uganda for years… and he could have silenced the guns earlier.
Museveni has spoken with double tongue so many times. If it was in relations to the genocide in Rwanda and getting Kagame into office in Kigali. The manner of which he took down Mobutu Sese Seko in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Neither will we need to discuss how he used militias and military operations to bring down Laurent Kabila in the DRC. There is also speculations in his involvement in South Sudan founding father Joseph Garang.
That’s why I have hard time believing in a man that couldn’t even honour the Nairobi Peace Accord of 17th December 1985. It was just the next month and a momentum, which brought him into power. Therefore, he celebrated NRM at 36th Year Celebration on the 26th January 2022 in honour of the takeover and coup d’etat on the 26th January 1986.
So, that man… who used military means and conflict to rise to the top. Is the man that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) trusts to mediate and help solving conflicts in Sudan and Ethiopia. This man is the wrong one and the most insincere one.
Since, during the mediation in South Sudan in 2018. He sent snipers and was the arms-dealer of the state. While trading arms to them not only during an arms embargo, but holding talks at the State House with various of fractions within the conflict there. That is the sort of fella Museveni and that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Museveni supports para-military groups and insurgencies, when it benefits him and his allies. He has done it countless of times in the DRC and it will not stop. That is the sort of President he is. So, I have a hard time to believe him to be neither neutral or seeking peace. He will find ways to make the current leaders free and ensure the big-men in their respective strongholds. Just like he supported President Salva Kiir Mayardit in South Sudan and only held a few meeting at the State House with other parties.
Therefore, having Museveni to play parley and peace is the wrong person to do so. The President hasn’t been sincere and a known liar. So, this man shouldn’t be trusted and his objectivity is usually questionable at best.
The IGAD should seek more qualified and less questionable leader to mediate in conflicts, as this man will not solve anything. Alas, he will only prolong the agony and find ways to benefit from the things happening himself. That’s the sort of man he is and Museveni shouldn’t be anywhere close to the stakeholders in Sudan or mediate in the conflict in Ethiopia.
If Museveni was supposed to do so, I would expect him to gracefully get visit from Transitional Sovereign Council at the State House of Entebbe and bash in their glory. While accepting all stipulations and ideals of army commanders of Khartoum. As Museveni wouldn’t challenge or seek talks from Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) or any of the other civilian Resistance Committee’s, which is on the streets demonstrating for a civilian elected government. Therefore, it would be half-assed and a lie. Where the President and his Vice would get play, but the others wouldn’t even be touched…
If he would be like this in concern to Sudan. How do you think he would be, in consideration with the stakeholders and the parties of the conflict in Ethiopia? Secondly, who believes the Prime Minister Abiy will even talk or negotiate with Tigray/Oromo leadership, which he has fallen out from. Therefore, Museveni … will not be the guy or the mediator the world needs.
Museveni will not solve or resolve things. No, he will only make a splash, hold hands and sing Kum Ba Yah around the tent-fire. However, don’t expect him to single-handedly make a difference. No, he will just find ways to profit from the situation himself. That is what he does… and that’s the sinister truth in all of this. Peace.
A joint statement by the IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu and the FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, Dr Chimimba David Phiri.
NAIROBI, Kenya, November 18, 2021 – Vulnerable communities in the IGAD region continue to experience a complex mix of re-enforcing shocks and stresses that are eroding their resilience to food and nutrition insecurity. As of October 2021, 26 million people were already facing high levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3+), according to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), which is co-chaired by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Due to the threat of worsening drought conditions, food insecurity will likely rise during the first half of 2022 across the Horn of Africa. Urgent action is therefore required now to safeguard livelihoods, save lives, and prevent possible starvation in some areas.
Drought conditions are already affecting the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, southern and central Somalia, and Belg-receiving areas of southern and south-eastern Ethiopia as consecutive poor rainfall seasons have driven below-average crop production, rising cereal prices, poor rangeland conditions, reduced livestock production, and drought-related animal deaths in many areas.
Moreover, as forecast by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), the start of the current October-December 2021 rainy season has been significantly delayed, with little to no rainfall observed to date in many areas, raising the probability of another poor season. Should this occur, agricultural and pastoral conditions will further deteriorate, causing households already struggling with the effects of multiple, concurrent hazards (climate variability, conflict, COVID-19, and desert locusts) to employ negative coping strategies and reduce their food consumption. This is a major source of concern as food insecurity in the region has historically increased sharply following consecutive poor rainfall seasons.
IGAD Member States continue to work in collaboration with development partners to anticipate and respond to various food security threats and build the resilience of vulnerable communities to recurrent threats and crises. During the desert locust upsurge, for example, the unparalleled support of resource partners and multi-agency coordination averted USD 1.3 billion worth of cereal losses, meeting the cereal requirements of 29.1 million people. Desert locust livelihood recovery support continues for more than 200 000 households.
IGAD and FAO share a long-standing history of successful partnership and collaboration in building the region’s resilience in several areas, including but not limited to: livelihood support to strengthen resilience against droughts; food security information and analysis; early warning and disaster risk management; implementation of cross border actions in close collaboration with the respective communities, local and national authorities; conflict prevention; natural resource management; market access and trade; and capacity building; institutional strengthening and coordination through the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI).
Such resilience-building efforts have significantly improved the ability of households to withstand the impacts of shocks. However, the increased frequency of climatic hazards, combined with the effects of other stressors, is threatening these hard-won gains. It is, therefore, crucial to act now to protect these resilience gains and prevent more people from sliding into food insecurity and malnutrition.
To this end, we must support farmers and herders who are experiencing the impacts of poor harvests, depleted food and animal feedstock, and rising food and water prices. More specifically, IGAD and FAO call for a scale-up of contributions to existing and future Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) as the response remains grossly underfunded in the relevant countries. Through rapid, collaborative action by all actors, we can safeguard the lives and livelihoods of communities currently bearing the worsening effects of the drought, while at the same time, protecting households’ longer-term resilience.
“ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 21, 2016 – Some of Africa’s leaders are responsible for instability on the continent because they have failed to manage diversity in their societies, the former Nigerian President, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has said” (TANA Forum – ‘Press Statement: “Some African leaders to blame for conflicts” – Obasanjo’ 21.03.2016).
Today Olusegun Obasanjo as the Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union for the Horn of Africa. One of his key objectives and mandate is to mediate in the Ethiopian conflict. Alas, he has a mountain to climb and it’s an unforgiving job. This is a position and a office, which isn’t for the kind-hearted. Since, the parties here are in the trenches and in a brutal war. They are not in this for a small token or to get global recognition.
Obasanjo is now meddling and intervening within a battle, which has become broader and wider than what the Tripartite Alliance anticipated. The alliance of FDRE, SOE and Amhara allies didn’t anticipate the formation of a broad alliance of nationalities to combat the Tripartite Alliance. Therefore, at this point, the war isn’t only Addis Ababa-Asmara versus Mekelle. No, it is much more wider and with the objective of rectifying the leadership structure of the nation.
This is why the African Union (AU) is late here and the talks is only stalling things. The mediator can drop a statement saying today: “I am optimistic that common ground towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict can be secured. The interlocutors I have engaged on all sides have stated their wish for peace, security, and stability in Ethiopia. The main point of difference between the actors is in the means by which they seek to achieve this essential objective. War represents a failure of politics. Thus dialogue remains the only reliable and sustainable avenue to peace. There is no military solution to the conflict and battlefield victory cannot guarantee political stability in Ethiopia. I, therefore, appeal to the leadership of all sides to halt their military offensives. This will allow an opportunity for dialogue to continue to progress. Such talks cannot deliver in an environment of escalated military hostilities” (African Union – ‘Statement on the Prospects for Peace in Ethiopia by H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo High representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for the Horn of Africa’ 14.11.2021).
It is like Obasanjo haven’t learned from his own experience. Just 5 years ago as a Tana Forum speaker or delegate. He spoke of the reason why we are seeing a war within Ethiopia today. The diversity and marginalization of certain groups is the reason for the conflict in Ethiopia. That’s because one man wanted to consolidate all power and use old grievances to settle it. He wanted to overcome the TPLF and by doing so hurt the Tigrayan ethnic group. This he got done by getting allies who has suffered, because of the leadership in Mekelle.
Deep down, I think Obasanjo know the difference and the difficulties here. The parties are not willing to really talk. These are just cordial meetings to buy time. We know the United Front against Prosperity Party is running towards Addis Ababa. This is just common knowledge as they are aiming to use arms to change the leadership. They are not trusting or having faith in negotiations. That’s why the former President is to hopeful in this manner.
I don’t see Abiy or Afewerki talking to Debretsion. I wish I could, but these have already vilified and gone total genocide on the enemy. They are arresting people for being associated or allegedly associated with either Tigray Defence Force (TDF) or Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Therefore, seeing them talking or having a meeting seems unlikely. If the TPLF/OLF went to talk. I would be worried of arrests and authorities surrounding the venue. This is why the hope is very dishonest at this moment of time.
The talks Obasanjo was maybe positive and had a good vibe. However, those vibes will not change the matters on the ground. As the FDRE is going into a “survival campaign” mode and the TDF-OLA is slowly advancing towards their target. This is not a time or a moment of thinking these will give way. No party will earn on it and that would only salvage the reign of Abiy. A ruler, which is a warlord and someone who many wants gone. Therefore, if Obasanjo wants to save his term or if he wants peace. That is two difference objectives….
I don’t see the hope or the possibilities of quick or brief ceasing of military operations. That means an unilateral ceasefire, which means all parties would silence their guns. The Tripartite Alliance never did that and only played the facade of that. While they we’re still annexing Western Tigray and besieging the rest of Tigray region. Therefore, Obasanjo is too positive or naive. I doubt any of the parties will give way. These parties will fight to the death or until they have to go to exile. Peace.