Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed the need for urgent funding to carry out critical humanitarian efforts in the Horn of Africa and assist the millions suffering from famine and drought in the region.
In phone calls yesterday with top officials from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Ban discussed the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Horn of Africa, where an estimated 11.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Millions in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia are facing severe food shortages with rates of malnutrition and related deaths having reached alarming levels in many parts of the region. Somalia is the worst affected country, with the UN last week declaring a state on famine in two areas of the south.
The Secretary-General explained to the officials that only half of the $2 billion needed to respond to the drought emergency has been raised so far.
“He called for urgent international efforts to meet the gap in the humanitarian requirements for the region,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, told reporters in New York.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today that the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) moving from pastoral to urban areas is increasing in Somalia.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has scaled up its operations to reach 175,000 people in the Gedo region, while the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is distributing supplies to 189,000 people in southern Somalia.
WFP is also providing emergency relief rations to 60,000 pastoralists in Djibouti who have suffered massive livestock deaths.
The office also expressed concern about the worsening situation in Ethiopia, where 4.5 million people are in need of food aid. The price of wheat in the capital, Addis Ababa, is more than 80 per cent higher than it was one year ago, it stated.