The Food and Agriculture Organisation has convened an emergency meeting seeking an additional $1 billion to address the food crisis ravaging Eastern Africa.
The needed $1 billion is to address the needs of people hardest-hit by the food crisis and to also articulate strategies on how to help the region in the short and long term. Already $ 1 billion pledged has been received.
The meeting which was attended by officials from U.N. member states and representatives of international and non-governmental organizations emphasised the need for a robust international emergency response to the drought to prevent the situation from escalating to a humanitarian disaster that could affect other parts of the Horn of Africa.
Senior U.N. officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, also stressed the need for longer-term efforts, particularly agriculture and rural development, to help prevent future famine and food crises in East Africa.
The U.K. top development official, meanwhile, warned that the “true test” of the FAO meeting remained translating the words spoken at the meeting into concrete action.
“The world must stop wringing its hands and get on with helping the millions
of people in dire need in the Horn of Africa,” U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell.
At the meeting, Ban called on donors to provide an additional $1 billion for drought victims. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the emergency response to the crisis requires some $2 billion, of which only $1 billion has been provided.
More aid pledges
Ahead of the FAO meeting, the World Bank pledged more than $500 million for longer-term, resilience-focused activities in East Africa, in addition to the $12 million in immediate aid it is providing to those hardest-hit by the drought. The bank said the funds would be made available by restructuring current projects, funding reallocation and fast-track processing of new initiatives.
Germany, which said it is considering expanding its response to the East Africa drought, pledged additional aid. The country is providing €15 million ($21.5 million), on top of the €15 million it has already pledged.
Drought has plunged East Africa into the worst food security crisis Africa has faced in 60 years. More than 11.5 million people are currently in need of food aid in Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia.
Meanwhile the situation is far from being over following a new revelation by scientists in Uganda that most part of country would not receive rains until the month of September.
The scientists from the Metrology Department in Uganda said that the months of July and August are generally going to be dry in most of the parts of the country including the east, west, central and the Lake Victoria basin.