World Bank Commits $500 Million to Horn of Africa Drought

Posted July 25th, 2011 at 8:35 am (UTC-5)
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The World Bank has committed more than $500 million in rapid response aid to Horn of Africa drought victims.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in a statement Monday it is important to “act fast to reduce human suffering.”

The money will fund both short- and long-term projects in East African nations that include Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and famine-struck Somalia.

The United Nations has said more than 11 million people in the region need urgent help. Tens of thousands have already starved to death and many more are suffering from severe malnutrition.

The World Bank's pledge coincided with an emergency U.N. meeting in Rome on the drought crisis.

The U.N. Security Council will also be briefed on the famine in Somalia during a closed-door meeting in New York on Monday.

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 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.