UN / HORN OF AFRICA DROUGHT

21-Apr-2022 00:03:45
Michael Dunford, World Food Program's Regional Director for East Africa said that there is a real risk of famine due to the drought in the Horn of Africa, adding that funding gap is forcing the Programme to make very tough choices – “taking from the hungry to feed the starving.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / HORN OF AFRICA DROUGHT
TRT: 3:45
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 21 APRIL 2022, NEW YORK CITY / FILE
SHOTLIST
RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior, United Nations Headquarters

21 APRIL 2022, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Dunford, World Food Program's Regional Director for East Africa:
“So the message that I really want to send this evening is that time is running out. Funding is required. We have the capacity to respond only if we have the levels of funding required. And it's forcing us to make very tough choices already. We're effectively taking from the hungry to feed the starving. And at this time, we cannot forget about Eastern Africa and the populations affected by this drought.”
4. Wide shot, press briefing room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Dunford, World Food Program's Regional Director for East Africa:
“The drought has already had three failed rainy season and we are approaching the fourth. In fact we are now halfway through. Originally the estimates of the effective beginning of this year was between 13 and 14 million. We now estimate this as increased to 15, 16 million and if the rains fail or if they are below average, then this number could increase to 20 million. So we have a very real risk of famine.”
6. Wide shot, press briefing room
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Dunford, World Food Program's Regional Director for East Africa:
“This is happening at a time with a level of food insecurity across the region has increased dramatically. We are now estimating that 81 million people across eastern Africa and the horn are food insecure. This is a 60 percent increase since 2021. What's causing it? It's a combination of ongoing conflicts. And I've spoken to you previously about Tigray, it's the climate effect, it's the droughts and also the flooding. We're also now seeing the macroeconomic impacts of COVID. Now we're seeing a spike in the cost. Some of this is related to Ukraine, as you know, others are due to other factors such as rising fuel prices.”
8. Wide shot, press briefing room
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Dunford, World Food Program's Regional Director for East Africa:
“When I look particularly at situation as relates to the drought, the numbers are really very alarming. In Ethiopia, there are 7 million people affected. In Somalia we estimate is between five and six million and in Kenya 3.5 million. In fact, we even now are getting reports of drought in Djibouti. The government announced previously and we're seeing significant numbers up to 55 percent of the rural population affected by this drought.”
10. Wide shot, press briefing room
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Dunford, World Food Program's Regional Director for East Africa:
“We estimate that wheat imports into the region accounted for 84 percent of all the wheat consumed. And as you know, Russia, Ukraine, huge contributors for these imports. We've seen an increase in the average food basket by 23 percent and across the region, and in some of the countries Ethiopia is 66 percent. And in Somalia, it's 36 percent. We're also very concerned about the implications for conflict in Ukraine as it relates to the availability importation of fertilizer. Countries country rely on 90 percent of all their inputs from these two countries, so we're expecting the deterioration situation will continue.”
12. Wide shot, press briefing room
STORYLINE
Michael Dunford, World Food Program's Regional Director for East Africa said that there is a real risk of famine due to the drought in the Horn of Africa, adding that funding gap is forcing the Programme to make very tough choices – “taking from the hungry to feed the starving.”

Speaking to reporters today (21 Apr) from Nairobi via a video link, Dunford said, “the drought has already had three failed rainy season and we are approaching the fourth. In fact, we are now halfway through.”

He continued, “originally the estimates of the effective beginning of this year was between 13 and 14 million. We now estimate this as increased to 15, 16 million and if the rains fail or if they are below average, then this number could increase to 20 million. So we have a very real risk of famine.”

The Regional Director also said, “this is happening at a time with a level of food insecurity across the region has increased dramatically, adding that we are now estimating that 81 million people across eastern Africa and the horn are food insecure. This is a 60 percent increase since 2021.”

He went on explaining “what is causing it? It's a combination of ongoing conflicts. And I've spoken to you previously about Tigray, it's the climate effect, it's the droughts and also the flooding. We're also now seeing the macroeconomic impacts of COVID. Now we're seeing a spike in the cost. Some of this is related to Ukraine, as you know, others are due to other factors such as rising fuel prices.”

Dunford also said, “when I look particularly at situation as relates to the drought, the numbers are really very alarming. In Ethiopia, there are 7 million people affected. In Somalia we estimate is between five and six million and in Kenya 3.5 million. In fact, we even now are getting reports of drought in Djibouti. The government announced previously and we're seeing significant numbers up to 55 percent of the rural population affected by this drought.”

The impact of the war in Ukraine is certainly being felt, particularly with regards the impact it's having on prices and the cost of living, the Regional Director added.

He said, “we estimate that wheat imports into the region accounted for 84 percent of all the wheat consumed. And as you know, Russia, Ukraine, a huge contributors for these imports.”

Dunford continued, “we've seen an increase in the average food basket by 23 percent and across the region, and in some of the countries Ethiopia is 66 percent. And in Somalia, it's 36 percent.”

The Regional Director also expressed concerns about the implications for conflict in Ukraine as it relates to the availability importation of fertilizer, adding that “countries country rely on 90 percent of all their inputs from these two countries, so we're expecting the deterioration situation will continue.”
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