The UK announced on Monday that it was going to provide a new support package to four East African countries, to help them deal with both extreme drought and flooding conditions. The package, worth £17-million, was announced by British Minister for Africa (roughly equivalent to a Deputy Minister in South Africa) Vicky Ford, in Kenya, at the start of a three-country visit to the region.
The countries concerned are, in addition to Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan. Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have all been suffering from drought, while South Sudan has been afflicted by flooding.
“For countries in East Africa, climate change is not a future problem — it is driving a humanitarian emergency right now,” she highlighted. “Catastrophic droughts and floods, paired with ongoing conflicts and poor governance in Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia, are creating a perfect storm in East Africa which risks pushing hundreds of thousands of people into famine.”
Ethiopia will receive £5-million, to fund nutrition to more than 200 000 children and pregnant and lactating women living in the country’s drought-affected southern and eastern regions. £1-million will be provided to Kenya for urgent and life-saving nutritional support for 26 000 children in the most drought-affected areas of the country. Somalia will be assigned £8-million in cash-based and water support to assist in improving food security and health and thereby to minimise the number of people forced to abandon their homes because of the drought. Almost 500 000 Somalis are expected to benefit from this aid. South Sudan has been allocated £3-million, to provide food and hygiene assistance to 100 000 people in danger of food shortages and water-borne diseases, because of prolonged flooding.
“The UK’s commitment to supporting our partners in East Africa is unwavering and we know that early action now can prevent mass loss of life,” she affirmed. “This funding package will provide vital assistance to almost a million people across the region, helping those affected to access clean water and healthy food.”
The UK has prioritised support for communities suffering from extreme weather events. The country has also been, for some years now, assisting African countries to adapt to climate change. About 50% of the UK’s £2.7-billion 2016-2020 climate adaptation aid funding was spent in Africa.