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Food security situation improves in Eastern Africa: UN

Updated: 2015-02-13 20:30

NAIROBI - Food security situation improved in six Eastern Africa countries in January compared to November 2014 as the number of food insecure people declined by 1 million, the UN humanitarian agency said on Friday.

A report from the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Eastern Africa said the number of food insecure people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan has reduced from 12.4 million people in November 2014 to 11.4 million people in January.

The UN humanitarian agency said however that this number is likely to change following post-harvest assessments.

"Good rains and improved food security conditions have been reported across the region, with projections of above-average rainfall for the Long Rains seasons in northeastern Kenya and southern Somalia which experienced dry conditions," OCHA noted in the report.

According to the UN humanitarian agency, food security conditions continued to improve in the region since September 2014, following normal to above normal rainfall.

However, the report notes that the outlook remains concerning in northeastern Kenya and southern Somalia which have experienced persistently drier-than-average conditions, including delayed onset of the season in the worst-affected areas during the last 12 months.

"Preliminary seasonal forecasts project above-average rainfall for the Long Rains season from February-March, providing possible relief in these rains," OCHA said.

According to the report, food security situation is likely to deteriorate in affected areas starting from April due to poor access to food, below-average production and conflict.

South Sudan however remains of concern as food security has deteriorated, especially in conflict-affected states.

The conflict has resulted in the suffering of millions of South Sudanese, 50,000 believed to have died, 2.5 million are experiencing severe hunger, and a further half a million have fled to neighbouring countries out of fear for their lives.

The UN report says conflict and unfavourable climatic conditions remain the main drivers of food insecurity and displacement in the Eastern Africa region.

As of December 2014, the estimated number of displaced people in the region stood at 9.28 million people, of whom 2.32 million are refugees while 6.96 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and people severely affected by conflict.

"Despite growing humanitarian needs, a difficult global humanitarian financing climate has forced humanitarian country teams in the region to prioritize response plans," says the report.

The UN also says funding levels for the four country appeals in the region are ten times lower than the same time in January 2014.

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