Islamic Relief, a UK-based charity group, has criticized the
“shameful” reaction thus far, emphasizing the dire situation faced by
the region due to climate change.
Despite accounting for just 0.1% of global carbon emissions, Somalia,
Ethiopia, and Kenya are disproportionately affected by the consequences
of climate change. People in the three countries are currently enduring
the longest recorded drought, devastating crops and livestock and
pushing millions of people into severe hunger.
Tragically, tens of thousands, half of them young children, have
already lost their lives. An estimated 43 million people, surpassing the
whole population of Canada, now require assistance, with nearly 2
million children in Somalia facing life-threatening severe malnutrition.
According to the U.N, more than 43 million people across Ethiopia,
Kenya and Somalia continue to suffer through one of the worst droughts
in recent history, caused by five consecutive seasons of poor rains.
Waseem Ahmad, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide, expressed deep
concern, stating, “It is shameful that much of the world continues to
overlook the immense suffering in the Horn of Africa. The resilience of
the people in the region is remarkable, but no one can endure five
consecutive failed rainy seasons and the destruction of their entire
means of survival. Despite contributing the least to climate change,
they are facing its harshest consequences.”
The soaring cost of food has pushed the most vulnerable families to
the brink. Moreover, the agricultural sector, which accounts for a
significant portion of Somalia’s economy, has been decimated, and over
13 million cattle have perished. Recent flash floods have compounded the
food shortages, affecting already-struggling communities.
Despite the gravity of the crisis, the UN-led humanitarian response
plan for the region remains significantly underfunded, with less than a
quarter of the required funding secured to save lives and rebuild
During the conference, Islamic Relief has pledged £15 million ($18.6
million), surpassing the commitments of some wealthier nations. Many
affluent countries, despite being major carbon emitters, have failed to
contribute adequate funds to address the crisis.
“As global leaders convene in New York, families in Somalia are
forced to make impossible choices about which child will eat today.
Lives are at stake during this conference. Aid has made a tangible
difference when delivered, saving many lives and preventing parts of
Somalia from descending into famine. However, it often arrives too late
and in insufficient quantities. Now, funding is decreasing again, and
the threat of famine remains very real,” added Mr. Ahmad.
He stressed the need for long-term investments in livelihoods,
acknowledging that even with favorable rainfall this year, it will take
several years for farmers and pastoralists to rebuild their lives and
restore their crops and herds. Urging for swift and flexible
commitments, Ahmad emphasized the importance of disbursing funds
promptly to maximize their impact.
The U.N Secretary-General, António Guterres delivered a stark warning while make a pledge to raise $7 billion for the region.
“With “crisis atop of crisis” threatening millions in the Horn of
Africa, the international community cannot afford to stand idly by,”
said Mr. Guterres.
As vulnerable communities in the region continue to grapple with
extreme challenges, the international community must rise to the
occasion and address this urgent humanitarian crisis.