IGAD Executive Secretary Expresses Concern over the Severe Drought in IGAD Region

In a press release on 27 March 2023 by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the agency’s executive secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, raised concerns about the unprecedented challenges posed by the ongoing drought in the IGAD region. The regions have been battling severe drought spells for the last two years due to five consecutive below the average rainfall, despite the recently recorded heavy rain volume.

The consequences of the droughts include severe water and pasture shortages, a million displaced people, over 10 million livestock and wildlife deaths, poor crop and livestock production, and increasing food insecurity. In addition, some pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are at significant risk of famine and severe food insecurity crises.

According to Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, relevant authorities must be vigilant and ready to respond to the challenges of this period. “47 million of our brothers and sisters are highly food insecure (IPC Phase 3 and above), and some risk starvation. 70% of these 47 million people live in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. Therefore, we solemnly call on the international community to help us prevent a major humanitarian disaster by committing requisite resources to save lives and livelihoods and continue investing in resilience building in the medium and long term.” Dr Workneh Gebeyehu stated.

Furthermore, the IGAD made the following appeal to relevant stakeholders:

  • ETHIOPIA needs USD 710 million to support critical sectoral needs in the coming four months;
  • KENYA requires USD 378 million to provide food, water, and vaccination to the affected counties until October 2023; and
  • SOMALIA needs USD 1.6 billion to provide food and non-food items to the drought-affected communities and Internally Displaced People (IDPs).

Furthermore, Dr Workneh noted that the road to recovery and stability would require time and resources to mitigate the lasting impacts of drought in the regions. To this end, IGAD outlined mid to long-term priorities to make the area more resilient and sustainable, including:

  • More investment in climate resilience and water infrastructure, including tapping into groundwater resources;
  • Climate resilient food systems, sustainable, and clean energy transition;
  • Pro-active climate and disaster risk management instead of reactive emergency and crisis response;
  • A regional and national multi-hazard early warning system centred around people to act before disasters strike;
  • Pre-finance actions to help communities build assets and sustain their livelihoods in a resilient and sustainable manner;
  • Operationalise the IGAD Disaster Response Fund to support member countries in an emergency; and
  • Finally, strengthen our disaster risk governance capacity to ensure timely and effective responses to drought and other regional disasters.

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