With the 24-hour news cycle running the way it does, sometimes stories become blips across our TV screens as we become numb to the voices of newscasters repeatedly running down the headlines of the day. One important story that has become such a blip is the hunger crisis currently gripping the Horn of Africa.
In July 2022, Amina Abdulla, Concern’s Regional Director for the Horn of Africa, estimated that there could be 20 million people in need of humanitarian aid by September. These numbers have been exceeded.
In the Horn of Africa, across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, they have had their fifth failed rainy season, which has escalated this emergency to a breaking point. This deadly record-breaking drought has killed nearly 9 million livestock, completely decimated crops yearly, dried up water sources across the three countries, and put more than 37 million people at risk for extreme malnutrition, leading to other major health issues. The worst situation may be in Somalia, where more than 700 children died of malnutrition in 2022.
This is the worst drought the Horn of Africa has seen in more than 40 years, and the conditions are aggravated by the impacts of climate change, rising food costs, COVID-19, and Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Like any disaster, be it natural or man-made, the most vulnerable are in danger. This hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa has significantly affected women and girls. They are often responsible for gathering water, and many now must travel even further to find water sources, wasting precious time and opening themselves up to violence and injury. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that the risk of gender-based violence has increased due to deteriorating conditions, and according to the World Food Program, 942,000 children under age 5 and 135,000 pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are acutely malnourished and in need of treatment that is under drought.
The World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Emergencies Response, Ibrahima Soce Fall, stated, “The situation is already catastrophic, and we need to act now. We cannot continue underfunding crisis.”
For almost two decades, Zakat foundation of America has been delivering aid to those in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia in the form of emergency relief, livelihood development, orphan care, and — most importantly — food security. Our relief efforts help those in the region cope with the combination of human-engineered catastrophes and natural disasters, including famine.
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In 2022, 91¢ from each dollar donated went directly toward programs serving those in need. 4¢ went to administrative costs & 5¢ went to fundraising costs.