Home » World Food Day » We have been sounding the alarm for years, it’s time for the world to listen

Photo: In a dried out riverbed in Turkana, one of the worst affected areas of Kenya, Regina Nakwamoru Kono shows the bones from one of her camels that died because of the drought.

Dr Asha Mohammed

Secretary General, Kenyan Red Cross Society

Many people hear the words ‘food crisis in Africa’ and aren’t shocked. It’s been portrayed as the norm in several countries. But it’s not the norm for anyone to be without food.

It’s certainly not the norm that Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are experiencing the worst drought in four decades. Communities here contribute the least to climate change yet find themselves at the centre of its devastation.

Water supply

Communities are not helpless. Across Kenya, farmers are adapting to deal with extreme weather. Where agriculture has been affected, the approach must be to invest.

In Taita–Taveta and Bomet counties in southern and western Kenya, the Red Cross, with the support of funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, is working with farmers to build new water points to ensure there is enough supply during dry periods, diversifying crop, breeding different animals and creating farmers collectives.

As a result of player support, farmers increased their food production and bargaining power in markets. This kind of adaptation is the only way they can have a future.

Lack of food

Currently, we’re at a critical point where these programmes are not enough. Over 146 million people are struggling without the food they need. This number is rapidly increasing.

Prolonged droughts have left lands bone dry — killing livestock, destroying crops and cutting off income and food.

Extreme weather is only one part of this perfect storm. Covid-19, the price increases caused by the Ukraine conflict and a lack of investment have all contributed to this devastating situation.

Where agriculture has been affected, the approach must be to invest.

The real urgency

The daily reality for people is bleak. Parents are being forced to skip meals so that children can eat. We’ve heard tragic stories of families being forced to leave elderly loved ones behind because they are too weak to face the long journey to find food.

No one should be forced into making such decisions. There’s another way.

Red Cross teams, enabled by funds awarded through Postcode International Trust, are investing in communities to recover and eventually thrive. We cannot ignore that, right now, we need to help people survive. We need urgent global financial commitments to help provide this relief. Five years ago, we averted a catastrophe in the region — we can do this again.

We must invest in our communities so that we don’t find ourselves on the precipice of catastrophe once more.

Supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

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