Horn of Africa: UN raises $2.4 billion and hopes to avoid famine

The United Nations said on Wednesday that “famine has been averted” in the Horn of Africa thanks to a $2.4 billion collection for the region hit by a devastating drought caused by “climate chaos”.

The UN humanitarian office said in a statement that some 32 million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia will benefit from emergency aid thanks to donations and pledges from countries and international organisations. (OCHA) co-organized with Italy, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United States at the end of a conference in New York.

“Famine has been avoided”, Ocha declared, even though the UN hoped to collect much more money: to protect the inhabitants of this region of East Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan). For this, seven billion dollars is needed.

The situation remains dire: “Additional resources are urgently needed to avoid returning to worst-case scenarios,” the international organization warned.

The funds will enable humanitarian workers to deliver food and water and provide care and medical protection for the population.

– “The threat continues” –

But Andrew Mitchell, the UK Foreign Secretary for Development and Africa, warned: “(The) threat of famine continues and we must act now to prevent further suffering.”

At the opening of this donors’ conference, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the international community to participate in fundraising to prevent “people dying” of hunger.

He said he wanted to “prevent the crisis from turning into a disaster”, arguing that donor countries for the Horn of Africa in 2022 would make it possible to “provide emergency aid to 20 million people and contribute to averting famine”. Was.

For Somalia alone, the UN chief reported that “last year, drought killed 40,000 people, half of whom were children under the age of 5”.

And in this East African country, more than one million people have been displaced by armed conflict, floods or drought since the beginning of 2023, according to the agency, raising the risk of famine. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

In Somalia, with a population of around 17 million, more than 3.8 million are displaced “to further worsen an already catastrophic humanitarian situation, where around 6.7 million people are struggling to meet their food needs”. , these two humanitarian organizations stressed in a statement in Nairobi .

He says that more than five lakh children are victims of severe malnutrition.

– “The worst climate emergency ever” –

Drought and famine in the Horn of Africa (AFP – Cléa PÉCULIER)

Furthermore, Antonio Guterres said, “the populations of the Horn of Africa are paying an insane price for a climate crisis that in no way originated”.

The region is even, Ocha insisted, “the epicenter of one of the worst climate emergencies on the planet”.

For the UN chief, this is “climate chaos (which) causes deadly floods and droughts and contributes to the risk of famine”.

In fact, the historic drought affecting the Horn of Africa is an unprecedented combination of lack of rain and high temperatures, which could not have happened without human emissions of greenhouse gases, according to a study published in late April by World Weather Attribution. has been displayed. (WWA), a global network of scientists.

Since late 2020, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan have suffered their worst drought in 40 years.

Before the end of the New York conference on Wednesday evening, Islamic Relief Worldwide, a non-governmental organization founded in the United Kingdom by Muslims angered by the famine in Africa, urged donors to “distribute their +shame+ to the world’s largest response”. Strengthen the reaction” Hunger crisis”.

Especially since “Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya produce only 0.1% of global carbon emissions, while their populations pay the highest price for climate change”.

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