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World Food Program Warns of Worsening drought in Horn of Africa

The World Food Program says the food crisis in the Horn of Africa is getting worse. A WFP spokesperson, Peter Smerdon, says because funds are coming in slowly, the drought may result in a humanitarian disaster. “Basically, the whole regional crisis is accelerating, and there will be a humanitarian disaster, especially if the rains fail or are patchy, and [that will happen]. The situation is quite bad.”

From Nairobi, Kenya, Smerdon spoke to English to Africa’s Angel Tabe, explaining why money is urgently needed: “Donors need to provide cash to move food aid up to drought-affected areas. They need to do that now.”

Smerdon also said the United Nations has created an emergency fund that will enable agencies respond promptly to crises. “The UN has realized that contributions come in when the crisis is a full-blown emergency…. The UN has come up with a fund for its agencies to take immediately.… It is awaiting donors to come forward to give the $500 million to be part of this emergency fund.”

Smerdon said donors are initially slow, leaving other aid requirements underfunded: “Donors will eventually step forward, but there are a number of other requirements that are needed, such as water and better health care, that are usually underfunded, and that is happening again.”