The non-governmental organization Intermón Oxfam has warned this Wednesday that one in five people lacks sufficient water in East Africa due to the drought, which has caused 90 percent of the wells to have completely dried up in northern Kenya. and southern Ethiopia.
The organization has indicated in a statement published on the occasion of International Water Day that 33.5 million people lack sufficient drinking water in this part of the continent, while low rainfall is expected to continue for the sixth season, which would make to the current drought into the longest ever recorded.
Thus, he has highlighted that in some areas of Ethiopia, Somalia and northern Kenya, the cost of water has skyrocketed by 400 percent since January 2021, which has caused it to be out of reach for 22.7 million people. who are also in a situation of acute hunger.
In this context, 95 percent of water sources have dried up in pastoral areas such as Marsabit and Turkana, located in northern Kenya, leading to an increase in the price of water.
"The hungriest people in the region are also the thirstiest. With the loss of their crops and their animals, they have been left without economic resources. Now they have to pay for water whose price does not stop increasing"has indicated the director of the NGO in Africa, Fati N’Zi-Hassane.
The drought has also caused the death of more than thirteen million head of cattle, while drying up thousands of hectares of crops and forcing 1.75 million people to abandon their homes in search of water and food.
In the case of the Somali region of Bay, where 76,000 people are facing famine, the price of water has doubled, leading families to make difficult decisions such as selling their meager possessions or moving elsewhere in search of water.
"Hundreds of thousands of people depend on emergency water supplies via tanker trucks or resort to untreated wells, whose water is unsafe and contaminated. Without safe drinking water, people risk contracting preventable diseases such as acute diarrhea or cholera"N’Zi-Hassane has argued.
Jadra Omar, a 26-year-old resident of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, explained that the drought has caused "people endanger their lives by drinking unfit drinking water".
"Past droughts were not as severe as this one. We were able to get water, but this time it’s impossible. Everything has dried up and the available water is very expensive, we cannot afford it. people are dying of thirst"has recounted.
In this way, Intermón Oxfam has explained that, although the reinforcement of the humanitarian response has managed to avoid famine in the region, until now only funds have been given to cover 20 percent of the 7,000 million dollars (close to 6,500 million euros) from the United Nations appeal for Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
"The world must not turn its back on East Africa. Without a significant and urgent increase in aid, many more people will die of hunger and thirst"pointed out N’Zi-Hassane, who stressed that "The worsening hunger crisis in East Africa is a stark reminder that helping people cope with these recurring crises requires going beyond immediate humanitarian aid and looking for long-term solutions.".
"The governments of these countries must lead the change by investing in social protection and infrastructure for the water supply, and supporting people who produce food"has settled the director of Intermón Oxfam in Africa.