The World Bank on Wednesday said nine million people are currently facing food shortages in the Horn of Africa, down from a high of 13.3 million in September 2011 when the drought was at its peak.
It said nearly 14 million people in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger are at risk of hunger because of drought, limited food, political instability, and periods of conflict.
In an update briefing to its Executive Directors, the Bank said it was working to alleviate the development impact of two simultaneous droughts in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.
A statement from the Bank copied to the GNA said a $1.8 billion Drought Response Plan for the Horn of Africa is underway to meet immediate food needs while looking at a broad, longer-term approach that combines investments in health and nutrition, with better weather forecasting, early warning systems, drought resilience, and other risk management measures.
To date, $147 million has been disbursed and $944 million has been committed for fast-tracking drought prevention projects and programs.
In addition to the above, the regional Horn of Africa Emergency Health and Nutrition project has helped treat over 35,000 malnourished children under age five living in refugee camps, with $30 million in funding from IDAs Crisis Response Window.
“Our strategy focuses on meeting immediate needs through ongoing development projects in the worst-hit countries and helping lay the foundations for long-term drought resilience, We are working closely with our countries and partners alike to deliver positive development results that would improve poor peoples’ lives”, said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region.
With a changing climate likely to intensify extreme weather events, the World Bank’s Africa teams are committed to help drought-affected countries in both regions to boost economic growth and alleviate peoples suffering.
On how the Bank is helping people in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, the Bank said assessments show that the drought is having a significant, adverse impact on the region’s economic development.
It said financial losses for Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda alone could amount to as much as $13.6 billion whiles the outlook is sobering.
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