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IRC Urges Donors to Step Up Efforts to Curb East African Drought

by Roveen Anyango
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The International Rescue Committee (IRC) on Tuesday called on donors to inject cash into East Africa to save lives as widespread famine ravages the region.

Speaking during a virtual media briefing on Tuesday, IRC President, David Miliband called on donors to step up now and not wait for a declaration.

“I would implore the international community not to be frozen waiting for the declaration,” Miliband said, urging countries to put money into East Africa rather than taking it out.

“Elsewhere, there is the great sucking sound of money coming out of East Africa,” Miliband said, stating that so far, only the United States had increased its financial support to East Africa, with much cash diverted to the crisis in Ukraine.

Kenya, Ethiopian and Somalia are all suffering from the worst drought in the region in 40 years. In Kenya, 23 of its 47 counties are experiencing drought. In Somalia, 7 million people are in need of food, while in Ethiopia, 13 million people are in need of assistance due to drought. The drought is as a result of consecutive failed rainy seasons. Parts of Kenya have, however, began experiencing moderate rainfall in mid-November, though weather experts predict that the rainfall will be much lower than usual.

Climate change

The drought in East Africa, while not caused directly by climate change, has been compounded by the phenomena, says experts. Miliband stated that Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya were responsible for just 1.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions but were suffering massively the consequences of climate change.

“In all the talk of net zero, we can forget about ground zero,” Miliband said of the forgotten East Africa region.

World leaders are currently meeting in Egypt to discuss about climate change at the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference. Among the points of discussion is increased ambition to reduce global-warming emissions.

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