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‘On Brink of Catastrophe’: Horn of Africa Drought Kills Over 1.5 Million Livestock

Drought affected livestock walk toward a river near Biyolow Kebele, in the Adadle woreda of the Somali region of Ethiopia Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. Drought conditions have left an estimated 13 million people facing severe hunger in the Horn of Africa, according to the United Nations World Food Program. (Michael Tewelde/WFP via AP)
Drought affected livestock walk toward a river near Biyolow Kebele, in the Adadle woreda of the Somali region of Ethiopia Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. Drought conditions have left an estimated 13 million people facing severe hunger in the Horn of Africa, according to the United Nations World Food Program. (Michael Tewelde/WFP via AP)

United Nations (AP) -- Drought in the Horn of Africa has killed more than 1.5 million livestock and drastically cut cereal production, “and we are most definitely now sitting on the brink of catastrophe,” a senior official for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday.

Rein Paulsen, FAO’s director of emergencies and resilience who returned from the region Friday, said a “very small window" exists for taking urgent action, and a key is whether the region’s long rains between March and May are good -- and whether the agency gets the $130 million it needs until June.