UN, partners seek $7 billion to prevent catastrophe in Horn of Africa

NEW YORK, 24th May, 2023 (WAM) – With “crisis atop of crisis” threatening millions in the Horn of Africa, the international community cannot afford to stand idly by, Secretary-General António Guterres said at a pledging event to raise $7 billion for the region, held at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

More than 43 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia continue to suffer through one of the worst droughts in recent history, caused by five consecutive seasons of poor rains.

Years of conflict and insecurity have sparked mass displacement, while skyrocketing food prices and most recently, the fighting in Sudan, have compounded the situation.

“We must act now to prevent crisis from turning into catastrophe,” Mr. Guterres said. “Let us act together now – with greater urgency and far greater support.”

The pledging event was convened by the UN and Italy, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United States, in collaboration with the three affected countries.

Mr. Guterres said he saw the devastating impact of the drought first-hand during recent visits to Kenya and Somalia.

The UN chief assured that “action will make all the difference.” Last year, donors delivered life-saving assistance to 20 million people and helped avert a famine.

He called for increased support for humanitarian plans for the region which are currently less than 20 per cent funded.

This is “unacceptable”, he said, warning that without an immediate financial injection, “emergency operations will grind to a halt, and people will die.”

“People in the Horn of Africa are paying an unconscionable price for a climate crisis they did nothing to cause,” he said.

“We owe them solidarity. We owe them assistance. And we owe them a measure of hope for the future. This means immediate action to secure their survival. And it means sustained action to help communities across the Horn adapt and build resilience to climate change.”