UN appeals for $353 million to help famine-stricken Horn of Africa
Regional, Economics, 1/31/2001
In an effort to break the cycle of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, the United Nations on Tuesday appealed for $353 million to cover the needs of 13 million people in five affected countries, reported the UN news center.
The interagency appeal was launched at a ceremony in Geneva by the head of the UN's World Food Program, Catherine Bertini, who has been appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as his Special Envoy for the drought in the Greater Horn of Africa.
"Don't stop the flow of relief assistance to the Horn," Ms. Bertini said, as she urged senior representatives of donor countries to pursue their efforts in alleviating the suffering of people in the region.
The food shortages in the region are due to three consecutive years of poor rains followed by the total failure of rains in certain areas in April 2000. Although some forecasts indicate improvements in Ethiopia and Somalia, there are significant parts of Kenya, Eritrea, the United Republic of Tanzania and Djibouti that are still awaiting signs of first normal rains this year.
Contributions will help cover such areas as food, shelter, sanitation, health, agriculture, education, security and logistics for drought-affected populations in Eritrea and Djibouti from January to December of this year, and in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania for the next six months.
Last year, the international community contributed over $287 million, representing 75 per cent of the total requirements, to a similar appeal to avert famine in the Horn.
However, 85 per cent of the funding received represented contributions against the food sector and very little was received to help the economic recovery of the countries concerned.
"We have stopped starvation in the Horn of Africa," Ms. Bertini said. "Now we have to show the same commitment to people who don't have enough water, people who don't have medical care, people who don't have seeds to be able to grow their own food, or whose animals die to disease, thirst or starvation."
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