More than 1 million homeless in Horn of Africa drought; 12 million with scarce clean water: UN

A Somalian woman carries a water bin at the Mooro Hagar camp in Somalia’s Bay state on March 29, 2017. (Photo by Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya - More than one million people are homeless in the Horn of Africa drought, seeking food, water, and pasture, a UN spokesman said on Friday, the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

“We cannot emphasize enough how dire and urgent the situation is,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

UN Humanitarians report that “we are in uncharted territory, and we face the very real prospect of significant loss of life if we don’t act rapidly.”

Haq said that more than 12 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia cannot access enough clean water. Women and children are walking further to fetch water, risking dehydration and physical and sexual violence. Families also face heightened risks of disease.

He said that more than 18.4 million people are facing severe food insecurity. The risk of famine is growing in Somalia, where more than 200,000 people are already facing catastrophic hunger.

“So far this year, our humanitarian partners have helped nearly 7.7 million drought-affected people across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, but we urgently need more funding to save lives and livelihoods and to avert starvation and death in the months to come,” the spokesman said.

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