World Food Programme seeks $450m for Horn of Africa drought

Horn of Africa: drought predictable and predicted (PHOTO: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)
Horn of Africa: drought predictable and predicted (PHOTO: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)

The UN food agency on Tuesday says it is seeking to raise about 450 million dollars for emergency humanitarian assistance to three drought-hit countries in the Horn of Africa.

The World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director, Valerie Guarnieri, made this known in Nairobi during an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) news conference on the current drought situation.

Guarnieri said Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have about 10 million people in need of urgent food assistance.

She added that “we are seeking to raise the funds on a country-by-country basis by supporting the individual UN country offices to make the food appeal.

“Somalia is the country with the biggest need of humanitarian assistance. For Somalia, we need 350 million dollars to scale up emergency relief response to reach 2.9 million people.”

The financial assistance would also be used to feed countries severely affected by drought, noting that in Kenya, the UN food agency had a 22-million-dollar revenue shortfall.

“We are looking to source the funds to provide drought affected individuals to restore their livelihoods, as well as supplement their nutrition,” she said.

The Kenyan Government had already allocated 90 million dollars for multi-sectoral drought response.

According to WFP, approximately five million people are in urgent need of food aid in Ethiopia and Guarnieri says 1.5 million out of that figure are in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

South Sudan is also impacted by the drought but it has bigger issue of ongoing civil strife.