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New Christian Aid report brands response to hunger crisis in East Africa ‘hugely inadequate’ as hunger doubles

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian Aid has warned that the response to the early warning signs of a hunger crisis in East Africa has been "hugely inadequate".

In a new report titled Ripping off the Band Aid, the charity said hunger has "more than doubled in one year."

On World Humanitarian Day 2021, there were 2.1 million people in Kenya facing food insecurity while 4.1 million Kenyans facing the same fate in 2022.

In Ethiopia, people facing food insecurity have dramatically escalated from 5.2 million to 20 million. Meanwhile, across Ethiopia and South Sudan, the UN reports gaps in funding have forced a cut to rations, incomplete food baskets and a reduction in the number of people helped.

The analysis also shows the terrible impact on crops, livestock and pasture has been compounded by other factors, including conflict, flooding, desert locust infestations, the lingering effects of Covid on prices and disrupted supply chains.

Christian Aid warned the crisis in East Africa has shown the aid system isn't fit to respond to the crises.

Mbaraka Fazal, Christian Aid’s global humanitarian manager said:  “The hunger crisis has seen men and boys forced to trek further for water and pastureland, exacerbated conflict over these scarce resources and leaving women and girls at greater risk by being left behind for longer periods without a regular income or basic items.

“In a world where there is enough food for everyone it is a moral outrage that people are dying of hunger.

“While helping people currently facing life-threatening hunger is of the utmost importance, so too must we start thinking longer term. We must accept the aid system is but a sticking plaster that is not fit to respond to the ever-increasing scale of emerging crises.

“Christian Aid’s experience of working with local partner organisations in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan shows that people’s ability to withstand failed harvests and rising food prices can be significantly improved with supportive preventive action.

“To break the cycle of food hunger, it’s time to rip off the band-aid and invest in building resilient communities during and between crises. That demands government backed finance and local knowledge to complement early warning systems and anticipatory action.”

Christian Aid has called for a scaling up of local approaches that builds on existing capacity and local knowledge to strengthen resilience and create the flexibility to respond to needs in East Africa.

It also wants donor governments and international institutions to support he humanitarian response by releasing all available funding to the front line, among other solutions.

You can read the full report here.

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