United Nations to scale-up relief for East Africa drought

Jul 13, 2011

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today called for an urgent scale-up in assistance for the millions affected by drought across Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Uganda.

“The biggest concern right now is that people are dying,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “We need to scale up from helping tens and hundreds to helping thousands and thousands of people.”

An estimated one quarter of Somalia's 7.5 million population is now either displaced within the country or have crossed borders into neighbouring Ethiopia or Kenya where they are living as refugees.

“We’re absolutely confident that there can be drought resistant agriculture in smallholder farms, said Helen Clark. “Unfortunately, because there hasn’t been sufficient support for this kind of long term development, these crises keep coming, weaken communities’ resilience and take lives.”

UN agencies and personnel are increasing delivery of relief to drought-affected areas, improving security to enable aidworker access to affected areas, and mobilizing funds and resources to meet the urgent needs of those affected.

This year, the Eastern Horn of Africa region has experienced the driest period since 1995. The number of people in acute livelihood crisis is expected to increase from 8.8 million in the coming months.

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