(Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
International partners have made financial pledges in support of humanitarian response efforts in the drought-hit Horn of Africa after a visit to Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.
A delegation led by the African Union and the United Nations concluded a five-day visit to the Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday, after visiting drought-affected communities in Ethiopia and Somalia. It included representatives from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the African Development Bank, the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the World Bank.
Participants met with Government representatives, local authorities and humanitarian partners in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. They travelled to Ethiopia’s Somali region and to Dollow in southern Somalia where they engaged with affected communities and aid workers.
“During our visit to Ethiopia and Somalia we witnessed first-hand the dire situation facing millions of people in this part of the world. The affected communities we spoke to expressed a deep desire to build their own resilience and not to rely on aid efforts indefinitely. International support is critical to restoring livelihoods and enabling families to cope in these difficult circumstances,” said Ahmed al-Meraiki, the Humanitarian Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General.
The delegation travelled to Koracale camp in Ethiopia’s Somali region which hosts 200,000 displaced people in dire need of food and safe water to survive. In Somalia, they met with displaced families and toured a cholera treatment centre in Kabasa, a settlement housing 200,000 displaced persons in Gedo region. More than 48,600 cases of cholera/Acute Watery Diarrhoea, including 763 deaths, have been reported in Somalia this year.
At a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday, the African Union announced an immediate contribution of US$100,000 as a solidarity gesture to Somalia. This comes after the African Development Bank’s recent announcement of a US$1.1 billion package to combat drought and famine in six countries, including Ethiopia and Somalia.
The World Bank will contribute US$50 million to scale up livelihoods and resilience efforts in Somalia, and plans to support the UN in developing a framework for economic recovery. The Bank has mobilized more than US$184 million through its Multi-Partner Fund for Somalia and has a US$9 billion portfolio of development assistance and investments in Ethiopia.
In a show of solidarity and in the spirit of Ramadan, Qatar announced US$10 million in humanitarian assistance for Somalia and US$3 million for Ethiopia. The assistance will address critical needs identified by the humanitarian community and be provided through Qatari NGOs working with the United Nations.
Earlier this year at the London Somalia Conference, Saudi Arabia pledged US$10 million for Somalia. The King Salman Humanitarian Relief Centre has also announced plans to contribute to aid efforts in Ethiopia.
USAID highlighted its US$215 million commitment for Ethiopia in 2017 as well as its continued support of United Nations coordination and relief work in Somalia.
“African and international solidarity are key to effectively tackling the humanitarian impacts of drought in the Horn of Africa. The African Union will work hand in hand with the African Development Bank, the United Nations and the international community to end this crisis of hunger,” said Cessouma Minata Samate, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs.
More than 13.4 million people are severely food insecure in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).