- Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Uganda are battling the effects of drought which has seen 17 million in the region considered food insecure.
- In Kenya, three million people are threatened but the figure could rise to 4 million due to insufficient rains.
- A food shortage had been predicted from 2010, warning that there could famine because of poor rains.
Regional development bloc, IGAD and humanitarian agencies are asking countries in the Horn of Africa to open up borders and share data on the number of people in need of food.
At a workshop in Nairobi on Friday organised by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), participants said efforts to combat the effects of the current drought in the region could be more effective if countries shared information.
“The ministers and partners do hereby agree to strengthen regional, national and sub-national drought response coordination, as well as support integrated cross-border management across the region,” the meeting said in a communiqué.
Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Uganda are battling the effects of drought which has seen 17 million in the region considered food insecure, ten million of who are in urgent need of food, according to the UN.
Ministers and commissioners charged with disaster risk management were meeting with humanitarian agencies to discuss the current drought situation.
In Kenya alone, three million people are threatened by drought but the figure could rise to 4 million especially due to insufficient rains.
While the officials here agreed that the response to the drought has been better than five years ago, they argued countries must collaborate since some people become refugees during drought.
“Our early warning systems were stronger this year than in 2011. But our recovery and response mechanisms should be in sync,” said Mahboub Maalim, the Executive Secretary of the eight-member-country IGAD.
“Opening up the borders not only allows closer collaboration and urgent help, it also opens up markets which provide resilience to the communities,” he argued.
At the end of the meeting, the officials “agreed to harmonise data and information management platforms on drought to improve responsive planning and investment.”
The idea of collaboration among these countries has been on the table for years, often agreed but less implemented.