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East Africa faces food shortages due to extreme weather

The East African region is encountering a potential food shortage following extreme weather conditions, characterized by excessive rainfall and floods. These conditions have led to fatalities, injuries, destruction of infrastructure, and significant damage to agricultural lands in areas crucial for food production. The situation has been exacerbated by the El NiƱo weather phenomenon, affecting Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, resulting in the inundation of villages and posing further threats in the forthcoming weeks.

The adverse weather events have had wide-ranging impacts on various sectors including agriculture, transport, health, education, and tourism, the latter of which was beginning to recover from the downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In Kenya, the repercussions have been particularly severe, with the President announcing a death toll of at least 210 individuals. Reports from the country's National Disaster Operations Centre highlighted the loss of 4,824 livestock, damage to 27,717 acres of cropland, and the impact on 264 small businesses and 24 schools by the end of April.

The UN Relief Web has noted the broader societal implications of the disaster, including the exacerbation of existing conflicts over resources, such as grazing land, which is already a contentious issue due to prolonged drought conditions in the region.

The agricultural sector, crucial for the region's food security, has been significantly disrupted, with Tanzania, a key food supplier, projecting a 30 percent reduction in food production. The World Economic Forum's report indicates that extreme weather events are likely to pose the greatest global risk over the next decade, with potential catastrophic outcomes including millions of deaths, substantial economic losses, and increased healthcare costs.


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