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Aid Agencies Back UN Appeal for $7 Billion for Horn of Africa Crisis


NAIROBI, Kenya — Humanitarian agencies are calling for full funding of the UN’s $7 billion appeal for the Horn of Africa at a pledging conference this week, citing a growing crisis and the need for a urgent intervention to save lives.

The UN says the region is facing the worst drought in 40 years, with more than 43.3 million people in need of aid in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, and more than half of those not do not have access to sufficient food, according to the UN

The International Rescue Committee said appeals have so far received less than a quarter of the donations they need.

“Efforts to address food insecurity must be scaled up urgently across a broader group of governments, international financial institutions and climate actors,” said IRC Director General David Miliband.

The UN is hosting a high-level pledging event at its headquarters in New York on Wednesday, where member states and partners will be encouraged to pledge financial support for the Horn of Africa crisis. .

Aid organizations say time is running out as affected communities have lived for months with little or no food.

“It is more than urgent. … We have avoided starvation before, and we can do it again. …People are already dying and there is no time for pronouncements,” Deepmala Mahla, CARE International’s Vice President for Humanitarian Affairs. told the Associated Press.

A famine has yet to be declared in Somalia, where more than 6 million people are going hungry, but some humanitarian and climate officials have warned that trends are worse than during the 2011 famine in Somalia during which a quarter of a million people died.

Formal declarations of famine are rare because data to meet benchmarks often cannot be obtained due to conflict, poor infrastructure, or politics. Governments may be wary of being associated with a term of such sinister magnitude.

Local non-governmental organizations like the Somali Hormuud Salaam Foundation say sustainable funding is needed.

“For lasting change, we must equip local organizations and local people with the tools to deal with the inevitable climate shocks of tomorrow,” the foundation’s CEO, Abdullahi Nur Osman, told the AP.

Ongoing conflicts in some of the affected areas, combined with the effects of climate change, have contributed to the worsening of the crisis.

Parts of Somalia and Ethiopia are currently experiencing flooding during the current rainy season and millions of people have been displaced.

Affected areas, mostly occupied by pastoralists, had experienced prolonged dry seasons that left livestock, which is a source of livelihood, dead.

Parts of Somalia are plagued with insecurity due to the extremist group al-Shabab which has carried out numerous large-scale attacks.

Northern Ethiopia has seen conflict for more than two years as regional forces clashed with national forces. Hundreds of thousands of people have died and the situation remains fragile, seven months after the signing of a peace agreement.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.