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'If I am able, I eat once a day': Christian Aid calls for government action in Somalia amid longest drought on record

by Sophie Drew

International development agency Christian Aid has urged the UK government to take immediate action in response to a report revealing that an estimated 43,000 people died during the longest drought on record in Somalia last year. 

The World Health Organization and the United Nations children's agency released the report, which marks the first official death toll in the drought.

At least 18,000 more deaths are expected in the first half of this year.

Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya are facing their sixth consecutive failed rainy season, while rising global food prices exacerbate the hunger crisis.
Jennifer Larbie, Christian Aid's Interim Head of Global Advocacy & Policy, called on the UK government to act swiftly: “The UK Government needs to heed the alarms. Ministers must urgently get more funding to the front line of this hunger crisis, mobilise the international community to act and ensure all humanitarian support is directed to local actors who are best placed to respond.”

Christian Aid is currently working through local partners in Ethiopia and Kenya to provide assistance to over 300,000 people affected by the drought. 
The organization is repairing wells, distributing water purification kits, providing cash support and trucking water to drought-stricken communities, as well as supplying fodder and medicine for livestock.

One individual supported by Christian Aid is Adoko Hatoro Engang, a 76-year-old who lives with his family in an internally displaced person camp in South Omo. His farmland has been destroyed by recurrent droughts and flooding due to climate change combined with overflowing rivers.

“I remember when I was young, the rains would follow the drought season, and flooding devastated everything”, Adoko Hatoro Engang explains. 

“If I am able, I eat once a day. We only share very small amounts of food we cook, using the money Christian Aid gave us.”
 

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