UN allocates $45 million to avert famine risk in Horn of Africa

The United Nations on Wednesday allocated 45 million U.S. dollars to help stave off famine risks in the Horn of Africa region.

Mark Lowcock, under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator said the funds from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will scale up urgent humanitarian support to drought-affected people across parts of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya who are facing acute food problems following another season of failed rains.

“We need to move to a system where we act much earlier on the warning signs of drought and hunger so that we can cut response time and costs and reduce deaths and human suffering,” Lowcock said in a statement.

He said the CERF allocation will complement the three governments’ efforts through targeted assistance to men, women, girls and boys, especially those with disabilities.

Lowcock said the bulk of the funds, 30 million dollars, will go to Somalia where 2.2 million people are projected to face acute food insecurity by September, over 40 percent more than in January.

The UN official said 10 million dollars will be used in the neighboring Somali region of Ethiopia which is experiencing a second consecutive drought season while still reeling from the effects of the prolonged drought during 2016 and 2017.

He urged donors to increase their support for drought response, in addition to critical assistance to the ongoing nationwide response to internal displacement.

Lowcock said 5 million dollars will complement the Kenyan government’s hunger safety net program where parts of the arid and semi-arid regions are hard hit by drought following a delayed start to the March to May rains.