US Gives Additional $17 Million in Famine Aid

Posted August 12th, 2011 at 5:00 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The United States has announced an additional $17 million in funding to help Horn of Africa nations deal with drought and famine.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday $12 million of the aid would go to Somalia, the country worst hit by the drought.

The United States has so far given $580 million in humanitarian assistance to the region, including $105 million announced Monday.

Speaking in Washington, Secretary Clinton described the situation in the Horn of Africa as “the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world today.” She says the aid is meant to assist 4.6 million people.

On Friday, British Airways says it will fly a plane of relief supplies from Oxfam and UNICEF to Ethiopia. The airline has already transported more than seven tons of aid to Kenya, where the United Nations says 1,500 Somali refugees are arriving every day.

The United Nations says famine in Somalia has not yet peaked.

Meanwhile, a U.N. official says Somali women and girls making the journey to Kenya are being raped by armed militants, soldiers and bandits in both countries.

The U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Margot Wallstrom, says more support must be extended to survivors of sexual violence. She is also calling for effective refugee camp management to minimize the risk facing women and girls.

The Dadaab refugee camps in northeast Kenya currently hold more than 450,000 refugees — more than four times the number of people they were designed to hold.