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Global powers pledge aid for drought-hit Horn of Africa

On Wednesday, at a UN conference, the United States pledged approximately USD 524 mln in humanitarian aid to address the extreme effects of climate change and severe drought ravaging the Horn of Africa. Germany and the United Kingdom also joined the effort, committing USD 226 mln and USD 119 mln respectively to help Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

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This support comes at a critical time, as the UN’s appeal for USD 7 bln to assist the region has only amassed USD 1.6 bln so far, leaving a significant shortfall. These funds are vital to aid the 43.3 mln people in these three countries facing acute food shortages.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged potential donors to make immediate and significant funding contributions to avert a catastrophe, driven by drought, conflict-induced mass displacement, and skyrocketing food costs.

The newly pledged U.S. funds will elevate the total humanitarian contribution to the region to USD 1.4 bln for the fiscal year ending September 30, according to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Antje Leendertse, Germany’s UN Ambassador, clarified that Germany’s aid does not include additional funding for development and stabilization in the Horn of Africa. Meanwhile, the UK’s total pledge included additional funding for Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda.

The United States’ new funding is primarily intended to support refugees, asylum seekers, the internally displaced, and those affected by conflict, drought, and food insecurity. The humanitarian agency CARE highlighted the critical situation in the region, where adverse weather conditions, locust invasions, conflict, and economic factors have led to widespread displacement and livestock death.

David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, applauded the U.S. funding for helping to stave off famine, and urged for other nations to step up their contributions. He emphasized the need for an improved approach to famine response, aimed at averting disaster before it strikes.

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