Norway to strengthen efforts to combat hunger and alleviate need in Horn of Africa

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‘Some 20 million people are facing severe hunger as a result of drought in the Horn of Africa. Norway is therefore strengthening its efforts to alleviate need and prevent famine in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt. Norway is providing an additional NOK 200 million in humanitarian support to the Horn of Africa.

The Horn of Africa countries are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe caused by drought that has already lasted for months. This year’s first rains are long overdue, and this could be the region’s fourth consecutive season with below-average rains. Crops have been destroyed and livestock have died. Large numbers of people have been forced to leave their homes in search of food and water.

The impacts are particularly severe in a region that is already affected by conflict, high food prices due to the war in Ukraine, locust swarms and the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN has warned that there is a severe risk of famine in Somalia, where 40 % of the population do not have enough to eat. In Kenya as well, half a million people are threatened by famine. In Ethiopia, the percentage of the population in need of humanitarian assistance has increased dramatically.

The humanitarian situation is extremely serious. Some 10 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition. Sexual and gender-based violence has increased during the drought. Many children have dropped out of school.

Norway is a significant donor to the Horn of Africa countries. Core support was disbursed to humanitarian partners early this year. Norway provides around 10 % of all the funding channelled through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

The UN is calling on all countries to provide emergency assistance for the Horn of Africa. The UN and the EU co-hosted a High-level Roundtable on the Horn of Africa Drought on 26 April to mobilise support from the international donor community. Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim participated on behalf of Norway.

‘The drought is having a devastating effect. We must act quickly in order to address this crisis and help to prevent new famines. Food security and climate-resilient food production are priority areas in Norwegian development policy,’ said Ms Tvinnereim.

The impacts of climate change are tangible, and the Horn of Africa countries will experience extreme weather events more frequently in the future. Norway is developing a new initiative aimed at enhancing food security and promoting climate change adaptation, targeted in particular towards small-scale food producers and local value chains.