UN Sets Donors Conference for Horn of Africa Drought

Posted July 25th, 2011 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The United Nations is seeking $1.6 billion from donors to help millions of drought victims in the Horn of Africa.

U.N. officials say a donors conference will be held Wednesday in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, as the world body races to get life-saving aid to more than 11 million people in need.

The donors conference was announced on Monday in Rome, where the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization held an emergency meeting on the drought.

The World Food Program said it would begin airlifting food aid Tuesday to Somalia's capital of Mogadishu, to eastern Ethiopia and to northern Kenya.

The World Bank, meanwhile, committed more than $500 million in rapid response aid to drought victims.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting focused on the famine in Somalia.

The U.N. has declared a famine in Somalia's Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions, both strongholds of the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab.

Aid groups say they are having trouble delivering aid to the two areas because of the security threat posed by al-Shabab.

The group has have banned most foreign aid groups from its territory, and denies that the areas under its control are experiencing a famine.

The World Health Organization has said five more regions in southern Somalia are on the brink of famine.