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World Bank Pledges $1.88B To Address Drought In Horn Of Africa; Additional Funding Announced At U.N. Meeting, By U.S.

“The World Bank said on Saturday it was more than tripling funding to $1.88 billion for a worsening drought in Horn of Africa countries affecting more than 13 million people,” Reuters reports. “World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the financing would help fill a $1 billion funding gap needed to tackle drought and a food crisis engulfing parts of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Uganda,” the news agency writes, noting the bank initially had pledged $500 million in July. Zoellick said the majority of the funding was to go toward long-term solutions to drought relief, with $288 million reserved for humanitarian aid through June 2012, according to Reuters (9/25).

On Saturday at a U.N. mini-summit aimed at raising awareness of the Horn of Africa crisis, representatives of 13 countries — Norway, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Luxembourg, Chile and Hungary — pledged at least $218 million in additional funds, the U.N. News Centre reports (9/24). Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday at the U.N. “announced approximately $42 million in additional humanitarian assistance which includes an additional $30 million for Somalia,” according to a State Department press release (9/23).

The U.N. has estimated that $2.4 billion in aid is needed for immediate drought relief assistance, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday said $700 million was still needed for this year alone, Reuters reports (9/25).