East Africa has been warned of imminent food shortages due to the delay or failure of long rains. The situation is likely to be critical in the next six months, Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai warned in Arusha on Monday evening.
“We are seeing less and less rains this year, and this signals an imminent famine,” he said during the launch of the Eastern Africa Parliamentary Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (EAPA-FSN).
He told lawmakers from ten countries that are members of the alliance that should the trend remain unchanged, Tanzania is likely to face food shortages not seen in recent years.
“In northern Kenya, the situation is pathetic,” Mr Ndugai said, adding that the drought menace has once again hit the entire eastern African region.
The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) said that this year’s April was likely to be the driest on record since 1981. “Rainfall levels through mid-April will likely be amongst the driest on record (since 1981) in some areas,” said Mr David Phiri, FAO representative to the African Union.
Dr Phiri said at least 7.1 million poor households in eastern Africa are expected to experience food gaps mostly in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Food scarcity will especially hit 12 million internally displaced people in Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, and 5.3 million refugees in seven other countries, including Tanzania.