UN, Japan launch project to provide relief to communities in East Africa amid drought
Joint program will aid drought-affected herders and agropastoralists in Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda with food, cash and essential goods and services
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) working with Japan launched a project Wednesday to provide relief to drought-affected herders and agropastoralists in East Africa.
According to a statement from the FAO, the project, called "Mitigating the impact of drought for the most vulnerable pastoral and agropastoral communities in Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda," will offer food, cash and other basic goods and services to vulnerable communities while protecting and restoring their productive assets.
Japan's Ambassador to the African Union, Horiuchi Toshihiko, during the launch of the project said the aid is much needed as millions of people in the three countries are facing food insecurity due to the worst drought in recent decades, compounded by years of conflict and the impact of COVID-19.
"With the effective implementation of this project, we will be able to mitigate drought-induced crises faced by vulnerable pastoral and agropastoral communities in the three targeted countries,” he said.
David Phiri, the FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and FAO representative to the African Union, said the contribution from Japan will help keep herders and pastoral communities on their feet, reducing their exposure to shocks and building their livelihoods.
The joint program comes as the Horn of Africa is experiencing severe drought due to five consecutive poor rainy seasons, the worst in 40 years.
According to the UN, the food insecurity situation in drought-affected areas in the eastern part of Africa is expected to persist, driving high humanitarian needs well through 2023, with forecasts predicting a sixth failed rainy season in March-May.
Many of the areas that have been worst affected by the drought are pastoral in nature with below-average rains and poor pasture, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes in search of life-saving aid.
The government of Japan and the FAO launched the project to alleviate the vulnerability of a total of 69,120 beneficiaries in the three countries: 45,000 people in the districts of Karamoja in Uganda, 12,000 people in the Baringo and Samburu regions of Kenya and 12,120 people in the Arta, Ali Sabieh, Dikhil, Tadjoura and Obock regions of Djibouti.
Communities in the Horn of Africa, including Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, are braving the worst drought in decades, according to the UN. Over 36 million people have been affected across the three countries.