“The current crisis is not an unusual or chance event, but rather a chronic feature of the region,” Rod Charters, regional emergency coordinator for the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said in a statement.
“The region has now experienced two consecutive seasons of significantly below-average rainfall, resulting in failed crop production, depletion of grazing resources and significant livestock mortality,” FAO said.
The UN agency said one in four children in southern Somalia are acutely malnourished and the drought is affecting most of the country, leading to livestock deaths and sky-rocketing food prices that have hit the poor.
Its total for those in need of emergency aid included 2.5 million people in Somalia, 2.4 million people in northern Kenya and 3.0 million Ethiopia.
“The Horn of Africa requires urgent additional funds to protect and rebuild livestock assets, distribute suitable farm inputs that include drought-tolerant seeds, fodder and water for breeding stocks,” FAO said.