Oxfam has reported that 33.5 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia do not have enough safe drinking water.
Development Diaries reports that the over two years drought has already killed more than 13 million livestock, dried up thousands of hectares of crops and driven 1.75 million people from their homes in search of water and food.
It is understood that in some areas in Ethiopia, northern Kenya and Somalia, the cost of water has skyrocketed by 400 percent since January 2021, making the remaining water out of reach for the 22.7 million people already facing acute hunger.
In northern Kenya, 95 percent of water sources have dried up in pastoral areas like Marsabit and Turkana causing water prices to rise.
‘The hungriest people in the region are also the thirstiest. People have depleted their last penny as they lost their crops and animals. They now have to pay vendors who continuously hike water prices’, Oxfam Director, Fati N’Zi-Hassane, said in a statement.
‘Hundreds of thousands of people are now relying on emergency water trucking, or unprotected wells which are unsafe and contaminated.
‘Without clean water, people are at risk of contracting easily preventable diseases, such as acute watery diarrhoea and cholera.
‘The world should not turn its back on East Africa. Without an urgent and major increase in aid, many more people will die of hunger and thirst’.
While famine has so far been averted in Somalia, mostly due to an increase in humanitarian response, only 20 percent of the UN $7 billion appeal for Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia has been funded to date, which will derail efforts to help millions of people on the brink.
Development Diaries calls on donor organisations and the international community to scale up support for vulnerable groups in Ethiopia.
Photo source: International Federation of Red Cross