Horn of Africa Famine 3 Months On: More Resources Needed, Says UN

European Union humanitarian aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva meets with women affected by the severe drought in East Africa. The European Commission will give €24 million to help famine victims in the region. Photo by: EU

Three months since declaring famine in some parts of Somalia, the United Nations said more resources are needed to save lives, particularly of the hundreds of thousands of affected children.

The United Nations said Oct. 20 that the suffering had eased for thousands of people, and that lives of many children in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti had been saved.

But “due to the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis, we have to increase our immediate response and at the same time lay the foundation for long-term development to prevent a similar catastrophe from happening again,” according to Elhadj As Sy, UNICEF’s regional director for eastern and southern Africa.

He said there is an urgent need to scale up integrated interventions in health, nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, education, and child protection.

On the same day, the European Commission pledged a further €24 million ($33 million) to help famine victims in the region. Prior to the announcement, it already provided €160 million to the famine relief efforts.

Meanwhile, U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell said British aid has already fed more than 2.4 million, supported vaccinations and provided medicines to those that need them in the famine-hit areas over the last three  months.

“Hundreds of people, mainly children, are dying every single day,” Mitchell said Thursday. “Britain is leading the effort to save their lives. It is vital the international community steps up its commitments to help these desperate people.”

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    Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.