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UN envoy urges a greater support to victims of drought in east Africa

UN envoy urges a greater support to victims of drought in east Africa

A United Nations humanitarian envoy today urged much greater support to the 18 million chronically undernourished people in the Horn of Africa, including more than 7.5 million victims of the current drought – the worst in decades – which is also decimating domestic herds.

“On my visit to a drought-stricken district in Kenya, I saw with my own eyes the terrible effect this drought is having on pastoralists, farmers and their families,” Kjell Magne Bondevik, UN Special Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of Africa, told the press in Oslo, Norway, about a crisis that also affects Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

“A great number of animals have already lost their lives due to the drought. Now all efforts must be made to avoid a similar destiny for children and their families,” Mr. Bondevik said, pledging to work with ministries of foreign affairs in major donor countries in order to galvanize the funding needed for humanitarian relief.

The Horn of Africa, where more than 40 per cent of all people are chronically undernourished, is one of the most nutritionally insecure regions in the world, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

At his press conference, Mr. Bondevik stressed that more attention must be paid to the root causes of food insecurity and the need to enhance coordination among national governments, local authorities, the UN, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the donor community and regional organizations in addressing those causes.