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East Africa: Droughts

Question for Department for International Development

UIN 270760, tabled on 28 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian effect of the drought in (a) Somalia, (b) Ethiopia and (c) the rest of the East and Horn of Africa; and what steps he is taking to support people at risk of food insecurity.

Answered on

8 July 2019

DFID is concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the east and Horn of Africa. This is a result of poor rainfall across much of the region and political instability and insecurity, including in Sudan and South Sudan.

In Somalia, drought and subsequent widespread crop failure and decline in livestock productivity has resulted in a projected increase in people experiencing acute food insecurity, from 1.7 million to 2.2 million by August 2019. DFID has recently allocated £8 million to support both emergency, life-saving interventions, and longer-term resilience actions focusing on sustainable water supply and the protection of livelihoods. This brings our total humanitarian spend in Somalia in 2019 to £40 million.

In Ethiopia, the humanitarian situation remains challenging. The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) seeks US$1.314 billion to reach 8.3 million people with emergency food and non-food assistance. DFID has currently allocated £30 million to meet emergency food and non-food needs. The Department supports the Government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) that reaches 8 million chronically food insecure people in drought affected regions with conditional cash transfers. DFID plans to contribute £16.7 million to the PSNP this year.

DFID will continue to monitor the situation and press the international community to commit further support where it is needed. DFID will also continue to support communities and states in the east and Horn of Africa to build resilience to crises and shocks. Our work on humanitarian early warning systems raises awareness of crises where food security is deteriorating, and we prioritise longer-term responses to support food security, including through agricultural programmes.