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).

The meeting “recognized that ‘if this crisis is not quickly contained and reversed, it could grow rapidly into a humanitarian disaster affecting many parts of the greater Horn of Africa region and that it is of paramount importance that we address the needs of the people affected and the livelihood systems upon which they depend for survival,'” according to an FAO news story (7/25).

With drought, conflict and high food prices affecting more than 12 million people in the region, the situation needs “‘an urgent implementation of the action plan on food price volatility and agriculture adopted by G20 agriculture ministers on June 23 in Paris,’ French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire, said,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C writes.

The World Food Program on Saturday said “[a]id agencies cannot reach more than two million Somalis facing starvation in the famine-struck country where Islamist militants control much of the worst-hit areas,” Reuters reports (Malone, 7/24). “The vast majority of people in insurgent-controlled areas of Somalia may starve to death unless aid reaches them in the next few weeks, said Mohamed Ibrahim, Somalia’s deputy prime minister,” the Guardian writes (Tran/Ford, 7/25).

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