Politics Kenya likely to bear brunt of humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia and Somalia in 2018

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Humanitarian crisis is likely to worsen next year with rising cases of drought and insecurity

Kenya is likely to bear the brunt of a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia and Somalia next year with a report predicting worsening drought and insecurity situations in the two neighbouring countries.

The report by ACAPS, a non-profit venture that supports humanitarian aid workers with daily monitoring and analysis of 150 countries, examined the anticipated needs of 18 countries in 2018.

The humanitarian overview report noted that Ethiopia's Somali region was most affected by the drought, which caused poor harvests, limiting food availability, and resulting in large livestock losses. This saw the number of food insecure people rise from 5.6 million in January to 12.5 million in October.

The situation is predicted to be even worse in early January 2018 owing to the delay in the Deyr rains.

"Vegetation conditions remain significantly below-average across southeastern Ethiopia and pastures are likely to be exhausted earlier than in normal years, meaning food aid will be needed as early as January 2018."

This is likely to see an increase in refugees move to Kenya's Kakuma camp which hosts around 185,000 people, mostly refugees from the civil war in South Sudan.. As of January 2017, the camp had over 130 refugees from Ethiopia with a majority of them being women and children.

With regards to Somalia, the report states that the food security is likely to worsen in 2018 due to poor rains below-average October-December rains (deyr).

It also adds that the country's security will be affected by increasing Al Shabaab activities especially around the major cities of Mogadishu and Kismayo.

"Security is likely to deteriorate as Al Shabaab expands its presence and lethality of attacks increases," says the report.

The Al Qaeda affiliated group is is responsible for the highest number of conflict-related civilian fatalities in Somalia.

With increasing activities from the Al Shabaab next year, Kenya should be on red alert as the militant group has in previous years staged terrorist attacks in Northern and coastal towns of Kenya.

Kenyan soldiers who are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have been battling the militant group in southern Somalia since 2011. The presence of the Islamist militia in the Dadaab camp, located in North-West camp has proved a security headache to Kenya's security seeing that the camp hosts close to 250,000 refugees, making it the second-largest such complex in the world.

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