The worst drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa has sparked a severe food crisis and high malnutrition rates, with parts of Kenya and Somalia experiencing pre-famine conditions, according to a United Nations report.
More than 10 million people are now affected in drought-stricken areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda and the situation is deteriorating day by day, said Elisabeth Byrs, the spokeswoman of the UN office.
This acute drought is a result of two consecutive poor rainy seasons. It's been one of the driest years since 1950/51 in many pastoral zones of Africa.
Food prices have risen substantially in the region, pushing many moderately poor households over the edge of misery. Child malnutrition is witnessed in many parts, resulting in high mortality rate among children though the report could not gather exact figures, reports Reuters.
Drought and food crisis are driving many Somalis away from their homeland, almost 20,000 reaching Kenya in just two weeks, stated the U.N. refuge agency UNHCR.
The United Nations has humanatrian appeal sent out for more funds. A U.N. map of food security in the eastern Horn of Africa shows large swathes of central Kenya and Somalia in the emergency category, one phase before what the U.N. classifies as catastrophe/famine -- the fifth and worst category.
There is no likelihood of improvement in the situation until 2012, says the UN report.