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Aid agencies urge global donors to fund humanitarian response in Horn of Africa

Wednesday May 24, 2023

More than 20 aid agencies on Monday called on global donors to address the impact of climate change in the Horn of Africa by making financial pledges required to fully fund the humanitarian response in the region.

The agencies said the funding will help address immediate and long-term needs across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where millions of people are trapped in a devastating cycle of hunger and displacement.

"We therefore call on donors to take immediate steps to break the cycle of short-term, inadequate funding to end preventable deaths and suffering in the Horn of Africa," the organizations said in a joint statement issued in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

The statement was made ahead of a high-level pledging conference for the Horn of Africa scheduled for Wednesday in New York.

According to the agencies, increasingly frequent, severe, and pervasive climate-fueled disasters are affecting communities in catastrophic ways.

They said an ongoing drought, in convergence with other shocks such as unusually high food and commodity prices and conflicts, has destroyed lives and livelihoods and driven record levels of humanitarian needs.

A recent United Nations report suggests that in 2022, an estimated 43,000 people died as a result of the drought in Somalia, half of them most likely children under the age of five, and 5 million people were internally displaced in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, including 2.3 million by disasters and 2.7 million by conflicts and violence.

More than 35 million people require urgent assistance across the three countries, with food and water, health, protection, and education needs among the most severe, especially for groups with different vulnerabilities, such as women, children, and the elderly.

The agencies called on donors to ensure a balanced distribution of resources across sectors to enable humanitarian actors to address the full range of humanitarian needs affecting communities in the Horn of Africa where an estimated 23.8 million people are facing hunger.

"People are still suffering and the death toll continues to rise in the Horn of Africa. Dry conditions continue to affect most areas, while localized heavy rains have led to dangerous flash floods in some parts of Ethiopia and Somalia, as the parched ground cannot absorb water," the aid agencies said.

The agencies said it's critical for humanitarian actors to continue scaling up their response at this time, but funds have already started depleting, and breaks in the funding pipeline are forcing organizations to scale down assistance to people in need.

"We cannot allow last year's scenario to repeat itself. If funds remain unpredictable, insufficient, and come late each year, the region will be trapped in a cycle of hunger and displacement causing unnecessary suffering for years to come," the agencies warned.

The agencies warned that people will continue to face recurrent hunger crises if the countries in the region are not supported with coordinated, long-term, and scaled-up investments that can address immediate needs while contributing to resilience and climate adaptation.


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