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Britain, Australia Urge International Community To Assist In Drought Relief

Andrew Mitchell, Britain’s international development secretary, and Kevin Rudd, Australia’s foreign minister, describe their countries’ responses to the drought and famine in East Africa in an Independent opinion piece. “The U.N. appeals are still underfunded by almost $1 billion. Britain and Australia urge the rest of the world to join them to work to prevent this humanitarian disaster turning into a catastrophe on a scale of the 1984 Ethiopian famine,” they write.

U.N. Emergency Meeting Recognizes Need For Urgent Response To Horn Of Africa Drought

At an emergency meeting at the Rome headquarters of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday, the agency announced “there will be a donors pledging conference Wednesday in Nairobi to raise as much as $1.6 billion to help fight famine in Somalia and other drought-stricken populations in East Africa,” the Associated Press/Forbes reports (7/25). Prior to the meeting, the World Bank “announced it is providing more than $500 million to assist drought victims, in addition to $12 million in immediate assistance to help those worst hit by the crisis,” a World Bank press release states (7/25).

African Leaders Must Invest In Malaria Prevention

In a Daily Caller opinion piece, Richard Tren, director of Africa Fighting Malaria, highlights a finding in a recent malaria report that the U.S. government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “were responsible for 85% of the steep increase in malaria funding between 2007 and 2009.” But “[i]f 30 African heads of state were to give up their private jets, a fund of well over $500 million could be generated,” Tren writes.

Media Outlets Examine Mobile Phones' Effect On Health, Development In Africa

PBS NewsHour examines how the Canadian organization MEDA is using text messages to track malaria supplies in local clinics and retailers in Tanzania. The piece includes a related video featuring a MEDA employee giving a tour of the program (Cheers, 7/22).

In related news, the Observer reports on the impact mobile phones are having in Africa, including on banking, farming and health. The article includes case studies examining how mobile technology is being used in certain areas of the continent (Fox, 7/24). A related video documents how mobile phones are affecting Uganda’s most remote communities (Eldin, 7/24).

U.S. Must Implement Long-Term Strategies In Food Security

In a post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah describes the U.S. response to the drought in the Horn of Africa, as well as his visit on Wednesday to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. “Since October 2010, the U.S. Government has provided $459 million in life-saving aid to…

U.N. Increases Humanitarian Aid Need To $7.9B For 2011

The U.N. on Wednesday said during a donor meeting in Geneva that “it needs $7.9 billion this year, $500 million more than it had originally sought, to fund relief operations in the face of spreading humanitarian crises in Africa and Asia,” Reuters reports (7/20).

State Department, USAID Briefing On Horn Of Africa

On Tuesday, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary for African Affairs; Reuben Brigety, principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; Ambassador Donald Steinberg, USAID deputy administrator; and USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg held a special press briefing to discuss the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of…

Attention Must Be Paid To Famine Early Warning Systems

Early warnings about rising malnutrition, drought and possible famine in the Horn of Africa “went unheeded” for the past year, but “[w]hat is the point of an early warning system if nobody is listening?” a Globe and Mail editorial asks.

Ban Says U.N.’s Top Priority Is Sustainable Development

During a speech to the World Trade Organization on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon laid out his vision for his next term, telling “trade officials and diplomats that ‘the United Nations’ top priority for this year and many years beyond will have to be sustainable development’ – lifting people out of poverty while working on environmental concerns,” the Associated Press reports. Ban “described sustainable development as a theme that would ‘tie together many other goals’ such as addressing climate change, global health, women’s issues and food, water and energy shortages,” according to the news service (Heilprin, 7/19).

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