UN Sets Donors Conference for Horn of Africa Drought

Posted July 25th, 2011 at 12:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations will seek $1.6 billion from donors this week 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 U.N. says the $1.6 billion would be for assistance over the next 12 months.

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 Bank on Monday committed more than $500 million in rapid response aid to drought victims. The money is to fund short- and long-term projects in several East African nations.

In New York, meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting Monday 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 those 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.