World urged to increase drought aid

July 17, 2011 11:58 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17 – The world should ramp up efforts to help millions of people facing starvation across the Horn of Africa due to a severe drought, the UNICEF and a senior British official urged Sunday.

After touring Kenya’s drought-affected regions, UNICEF chief Anthony Lake and British International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said fleeing Somali families and local residents were in dire need of assistance.

“We have seen some derisory offers from rich European countries. The whole international community … should now realise the scale of what is happening in the Horn of Africa and put their shoulder to the wheel and do everything they can to help,” Mitchell told reporters.

“It is a terrible thing in our world today that a baby should die from lack of food.”

Mitchell visited Dadaab refugee camps in the east of Kenya, where hundreds of Somalis are fleeing to everyday after days of trekking that have claimed the lives of weak children while families have been robbed and attacked on the way.

The 380,000-strong Dadaab camps are the world’s largest refugee settlement, now hosting four times its original capacity.

Around 10 million people are facing starvation in the Horn of Africa which has been hit by one of its worst droughts in decades.

“This is a very serious crisis … not only are the immediate needs great, but this crisis is likely to deepen over the coming six months or so becuase it is very unlikely that there will be sufficient new harvests,” Lake said.

“We have to do everything we can now to ameliorate its scope and to save the lives of the people who are affected,” he added.

Britain on Saturday promised 52 million pounds (59 million euro, 73 million dollars) in emergency aid. Germany also pledged a further five million euros for the crisis.


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