UNITED NATIONS, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Donors at a United Nations-backed event on Wednesday announced 2.4 billion U.S. dollars to provide life-saving and life-sustaining assistance for nearly 32 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
Famine has been averted, thanks in part to the tremendous efforts of local communities, humanitarian organizations and authorities, as well as the support of donors. In the face of five consecutive poor rainy seasons, more than 30 million people received assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, according to a press release.
But the emergency is far from over, and additional resources are urgently required to prevent a return to the worst-case scenario.
The humanitarian community requires 7 billion dollars for humanitarian response and protection for drought- and conflict-affected people in the region in 2023.
The funds announced on Wednesday will allow humanitarian agencies to sustain aid pipelines of food, water, health care, nutrition and protection services.
"We welcome the announcements of support for the people of the Horn of Africa, who need our sustained commitment to recover from a crisis of catastrophic proportions," said Joyce Msuya, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief coordinator. "We must persist in pushing for stepped-up investments, especially to bolster the resilience of people already bearing the brunt of climate change."
The Horn of Africa is the epicenter of one of the world's worst climate emergencies. An estimated 43,000 people died in 2022 in Somalia, most likely due to the drought, half of whom may have been children under age five. Millions remain displaced because of drought as well as conflict, the release said.
Wednesday's event was held as improved rains are starting to ease the impacts of the drought, but they also bring new risks and challenges. Floods have already caused widespread damage and affected at least 900,000 people. More flooding is expected later this year, partly due to the forecasted El Nino phenomenon, potentially leading to further displacement, death and disease.
Despite the relief brought by the rains, it will take years to recover from the historic drought. Representatives from non-governmental organizations, member states and experts debated solutions, ranging from long-term investment in people and infrastructure to alternative ways for people to earn a living and adapt to climate change, according to the release. ■