Together we must act to help millions suffering in the Horn of Africa now

24 Sep 2011

“TOGETHER, WE MUST ACT TO HELP MILLIONS SUFFERING IN THE HORN OF AFRICA NOW, AND FIND SUSTAINABLE WAYS TO BUILD RESILIENCE”

New York -  Leaders from more than 60 countries came together today at a United Nations mini-Summit chaired by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, to raise awareness of the scale and urgency of the humanitarian situation.

During the event, more than US$ 218 million* of new humanitarian aid was pledged by Norway, Republic of Korea, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Russian Federation, Luxembourg, Chile and Hungary.

“Together, we must act to help the millions suffering in the Horn of Africa now, and find sustainable ways to build resilience against future drought and food crises," said United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. “We must keep this crisis and the plight of the people suffering because of it in the spotlight. I thank the governments who have given generously both today and over the last months.”

Keynote speakers at the mini-summit included UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President Omar Guellah of Djibouti, Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali of Somalia, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, and representatives of other Member States and aid organizations.

Speakers expressed their commitment to a united, coordinated and effective response, called for greater access and safety for humanitarian workers so that they can save more lives at this critical time, and pledged to increase their focus on building resilience to make communities better able to withstand future crises.

This current cycle of drought will continue to increase the numbers of aid dependent families unless we also address the underlying livelihood crises facing the region, said UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Jordan Ryan. “Supporting local resilience, focusing as early as possible on maintaining livelihoods will better address the issues of vulnerability."

Thirteen million people hit by drought and famine need urgent help in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Working together we are trying to reach as many of them as possible.

Josette Sheeran of the World Food Programme noted that “while droughts may not be preventable, famines are. In areas where the humanitarian community has access, millions of hungry are being reached with lifesaving action and lasting hunger solutions are being deployed that cover the full spectrum of food security.”

More than 1 million people have received sustained access to safe water - 32 per cent of the 3.3 million people targeted in Somalia; nearly 170,000 malnourished children have been treated since January, including over 50,000 since July; and a recent emergency measles vaccination campaign reached more than 650,000 children, in the Banadir region of Somalia.

With today’s funding pledges, the Appeals for the Horn of Africa – US$ 2.48 billion – still need some US$ 500 million to help the people in need of critical assistance. (*using the UN Operational Exchange rate).  

Contact Information

OCHA NY:

Amanda Pitt, Spokesperson
pitta@un.org
Tel. +1917 442 810

Mark Turner, Spokesperson
turner5@un.org
Tel. +1 917 9513047

OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int.