Sat, 21 May 2022

NAIROBI, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Senior ministers from the Horn of African states on Friday made a fresh appeal for robust funding to support humanitarian interventions for about 40.4 million people affected by drought.

The high-level ministerial summit convened by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, vowed to mobilize resources to cater for emergency food aid, clean water and health services in the drought hotspots.

Workney Gebeyehu, the IGAD's executive secretary, noted that food and water insecurity had escalated in the region, hence the need for joint efforts to plug the funding shortfall and avert a humanitarian crisis.

According to Gebeyehu, about 6.3 billion U.S. dollars was urgently required to support the emergency response to the unfolding food scarcity in the Horn of African region, fueled by climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis.

"The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the region has risen by 30 percent since April hence our call for increased funding to sustain their livelihoods," said Gebeyehu.

According to the figures from the IGAD, some 8.1 million people are food insecure in Ethiopia, 3.5 million in Kenya, 7.7 million in Somalia, 8.9 million in South Sudan, 10.6 million in Sudan, and 1.6 million in Uganda.

Margaret Kobia, Kenya's cabinet secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs and Special Programs, said the government had rallied behind regional initiatives to boost funding for drought response and Kenya has leveraged domestic financing to provide emergency support including food rations, clean water and medicine to about 3.5 million people affected by drought.

She disclosed that the Kenyan government has spent 8.7 billion shillings (about 74.94 million U.S. dollars) to cater to drought intervention across the water, health, livestock and social protection sectors.

Kobia said that Kenya aimed to plug a funding shortfall of 100 million dollars to sustain drought response in the coming months before the onset of October-December short rains when food production is expected to stabilize.

Esther Anyakun, the Ugandan minister of State for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, called for sharing of best practices and enhanced coordination to boost funding for drought response across the Horn of African region.

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