AFRICA- While about 21 million people in East and Central Africa are in need of food aid, the UK Government has cut its aid budget by six percent, £28 million.
The cuts were announced by Andrew Mitchell, the UK Minister for Development and Africa, who rejoined the Government last year despite his opposition to merging the former Foreign Office with the Department for International Development.
Due to the cost of hosting refugees from Ukraine and other countries, he warned in December that he would have to drastically cut the aid budget.
Kayode Akintola, head of CAFOD’s Africa region, said: “The situation in East Africa is as bad as I’ve ever known it. Our partners on the ground are doing everything they can to respond to the crisis, but the need is growing each day.”
“The decision to take more money away from people who need our help urgently is shameful. We need the UK to reverse this decision and act to provide proper funding to East Africa before it’s too late.”
According to Mr Mitchell in a statement before Parliament broke for Easter, “difficult choices” had to be made; “our spending plans have changed.”
East and Central Africa’s funding in the current year will total £318.8 million, he announced, making it the UK’s largest overseas aid recipient.
As a result of heavy rains in drought-stricken East Africa, flash floods have occurred as the ground cannot absorb the water.
Tearfund warns that floodwaters have killed any livestock that has not succumbed to the extensive drought. Many people are suffering from a worsening situation as a result of the long-awaited rains. The drought has already killed four-fifths of livestock in Marsabit, Kenya, one of the worst-affected regions.
According to Tearfund’s disaster response lead, Elizabeth Myendo: “They have caused flash floods in most places that have not had rain for more than four successive years, and are leading to more livestock deaths, in addition to deaths resulting from the drought. Unfortunately, we cannot say that the rain will improve the hunger crisis in the region.”
“We have been waiting and praying for a breakthrough in this intense period of drought, but now that the rain is here, people are facing new challenges. The ground was so parched that it has been unable to absorb the run-off water.“
“More than 800 households have been displaced by floodwater, and many roads made impassable. The few remaining livestock weakened by the prolonged drought have also been killed in the floods.”
“When the rains come after a prolonged dry period, worms emerge from underground where they have been hibernating. When livestock feed on these worms, they die. In one of the villages in northern Kenya, one person lost 100 cows overnight.”
“Pastoralist communities depend on their livestock as their only source of livelihood and for economic security. In this regard, losing a herd is both financial ruin and extremely difficult psychologically.”
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