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Climate change has worsened drought in East Africa, scientists say


Friederike Otto, senior climatologist at Imperial College London and leader of the study, said it underlined how the effects of climate change “depend heavily on our vulnerability”.

While climate change has made drought more frequent and extreme in the Horn region, scientists have recognized that previous failed rainy seasons, high temperatures, conflict, state fragility and poverty are also to blame for the “devastating impacts”.

The United Nations said more than 20 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and South Sudan have been affected by drought, with more than 2.2 million people displaced in Somalia and Ethiopia and serious maternal risks for hundreds of thousands of pregnant and breastfeeding women. .

Rod Beadle, head of relief and humanitarian affairs at Food for the Hungry, said nearly 15 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition.

“Despite recent rains in northern Kenya, pressure from previous failed seasons makes the situation dire. The floods have impacted livestock and many herders have lost their main livelihoods. Drought conditions have resulted in heavily compacted soil that cannot absorb water; floods are therefore more severe. The country is also facing severe outbreaks of cholera and other diseases as new refugees arrive,” Beadle said.

Development gains in countries have been offset by a long history of natural disasters, famines and disease, said Guyo Malicha Roba, a food security expert who heads the Jameel Observatory, which works on insecurity issues. food in dryland countries.

Roba said the food situation in the region’s drylands has been resolved with fundraising and with food distributions from governments and humanitarian partners, but more work needs to be done to use early warning systems. in order to respond more quickly to “food shocks”.

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