Horn of Africa Faces Perhaps Worst Drought, Famine in History

Jun 9, 2022

A crisis is unfolding in Somalia. World hunger experts warn that the country is entering a severe famine. Tens of thousands of lives could be at risk. Somalia is in the Horn of Africa.

The country is having its worst drought in 40 years. Already, at least 448 people have died at malnutrition centers, the Associated Press (AP) reported Wednesday. Many more Somalians are dying for lack of food beyond what is being reported, the AP says.

“Definitely thousands,” the United Nations (UN) official for Somalia told reporters Tuesday. Data to back up that claim is not yet available.

Drought has mixed with a global rise in food and fuel prices. Both have been driven up by the war in Ukraine. Millions in Africa have been affected. The combination has killed crops. The price hikes mean many families can't afford food staples like wheat and cooking oil. Millions of livestock also have died.

This week, the UN’s children’s agency said the world must “widen its gaze from the war in Ukraine” to prevent Somalia from sliding into famine. Only a third of the $250 million needed to stop the disaster has been raised, the UN warned.

Drought is not uncommon in the Horn of Africa. In 2011, a severe drought in East Africa is estimated to have caused the deaths of 50,000 to 260,000 people. But to worsen matters this year, it appears a fifth straight rainy season might fail. That has never happened before.

Photo from Reuters.

Which of the following is not included as a contributing factor to the crisis in Somalia? (Common Core RI.5.1; RI.6.1)
a. its worst drought in 40 years
b. global rise in food and fuel prices
c. the war in Ukraine
d. the COVID-19 pandemic
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