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22.4 million people severely food in-
secure in Horn of Africa: UN-OCHA

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) revealed on Wednesday that 22.4 million people in the Horn of Africa region need food aid.

In a press statement, UN-OCHA, said 700,000 people in Kenya, 1.6 million people in Somalia, 6.1 million people in South Sudan, 7.9 million people in Ethiopia and 6.2 million people in Sudan are food insecure.

UN-OCHA said conflict and internal violence has contributed to a spike in the number of food insecure people in Sudan and South Sudan, although sustained humanitarian response and good rainfall in Somalia has helped to slightly decrease the number of food insecure people in Somalia.

UN-OCHA further said the Horn of Africa region is also suffering from displacement crisis mainly because of armed conflict and internal violence, mainly in Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan.

Ethnic violence along the common border of Ethiopia’s Gedeo zone in Southern regional and West Guji zone in Oromia regional state since April has led to the displacement of around 960,000 Ethiopians, contributing to a dramatic spike in number of internally displaced people in Ethiopia in recent months.

The UN-OCHA report also revealed conflicts have led to the creation of around 3.82 million refugees in and from the Horn of Africa region.



East African countries could experience hunger as Quelea birds ravage crops

NAIVASHA (Xinhua) -- Kenya and her East African neighbors have been identified as the epicenter of Quelea birds’ attack on key staples hence putting their food security initiatives in jeopardy.

Scientists affiliated with Desert Locust Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCO) said on Tuesday that the east and Horn of Africa states affected by invasion of Quelea birds on farms could face widespread hunger.

Stephen Njoka, the director of DLCO, revealed that the birds had invaded thousands of acres in the region while ravaging crops ready for harvest.

He said it was becoming a challenge for experts to contain Quelea birds and other pests due to budget constraints and hence the need for member countries to offer support.

Njoka said in the last one year alone, an estimated 191 million birds invaded the farms with Kenya and Tanzania being the most affected.

Njoka said despite the hiccups, they were determined to control the birds just like other migratory pests.

He said they were working with farmers across the member nations to ensure the pests were controlled and ensure high yields for their produce.

“These cases were well controlled by the farmers using cultural and chemical control methods and we will continue even with other areas where the prevalence is high,” he said.

During the meeting, Njoka noted that the fall army worm had continued to cause massive destruction of crops mainly maize with no solution in site.

The chairman of the organization, Heruy Asghedom from Eritrea, admitted that the fall army was a concern to them and called for exchange of information and technology to address it.



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