Drought-Hit Horn of Africa in Urgent Need of Humanitarian Aid

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Despite the end of famine conditions in February, nearly 10 million people in the region still require humanitarian assistance.

Reports say the March-May rains in the eastern Horn of Africa will not be adequate.

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Child in a droughtstricken area of Mauritania. UN Photo/John Isaac

Poor rains would likely negatively affect food security in a region still recovering from a devastating drought and famine in 2011, according to reports.

With the urgency to respond to the humanitarian crisis, the United States of America today announced that it will increase its U.S. Funding to drought relief in the Horn of Africa.

UN says more than half of Somalia’s population, four million people, is now in crisis as famine spreads, and 750,000 are at risk of death.

The United States continues to be deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa, and particularly the hard-hit Somali population.

Earlier this week, Secretary Clinton announced that since early in 2011 the United States has provided almost $1 billion in humanitarian assistance that has saved countless lives from malnutrition, starvation, and disease.

“And our sustained commitment has demonstrated the best of America, helping to undermine the extremist narrative of terrorist groups like al-Shabaab in Somalia.” -Ms. Clinton

The United States remains committed to breaking the cycle of hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa and to this end will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and call on others to join it in supporting the UN’s $1.5 billion 2012 Consolidated Appeal for Somalia.

This appeal is currently funded at only $179 million.

The US government continues to encourage all donors to take additional steps to tackle both immediate assistance needs and strengthen capacity in the region to mitigate future crises.

In addition to emergency assistance, the United States is also leading efforts to address the root causes of hunger and food insecurity by improving agricultural systems in the Horn of Africa under the Feed the Future initiative.

Yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah participated in a high-level forum on strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities to drought in the Horn of Africa.

On 24th of October 2011, Secretary Clinton announced an additional $100 million, primarily in food assistance, for drought-affected populations in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. With this announcement, the United States Government, the largest humanitarian donor to the region, is providing over $750 million to meet ongoing and urgent humanitarian needs, including approximately $175 million in humanitarian assistance for Somalia.

More than 13.3 million people are in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa, primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The United States is deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa, the famine that is occurring in parts of Somalia, the ongoing conflict and political instability within Somalia, and the escalating refugee crisis across the region.

The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the region, now providing over $750 million in life-saving assistance to those in need. This assistance has reached nearly 4.6 million people, many of whom would otherwise have died from starvation or related diseases.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.