East African Famine Pledging Conference Delayed , More Regions to be Declared

The African Union said a conference to raise funds for more than 12 million people stricken by drought and famine in the Horn of Africa has been delayed by more than two weeks until Aug. 25.

The pledging conference, to be held in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, was originally planned for Aug. 9, the African Union said in an e-mailed statement today. It didn’t provide a reason for the postponement.

Donors have committed about half of the $2.5 billion required to deal with the crisis, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on its website.

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The UN on July 20 declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia amid drought and conflict that have left 3.7 million people, almost half the country’s population, in need of aid. Three more areas of Somalia were classified as famine-hit yesterday, the UN said.


The crisis may spread across all of Somalia’s southern regions within four to six weeks and carry on until at least December, the Famine Early Warning Network and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. 

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The UN says the famine gripping parts of southern Somalia has spread to three new areas of the country.

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Officials estimate the entire south is likely to be declared a famine zone within the next six weeks.

Some 100,000 people have arrived in the capital Mogadishu in the last two months alone. Thousands more have sought refuge in Ethiopia, which is scarcely any better off.

Drought, conflict and a lack of food have left 3.6 million people at risk of starvation in southern Somalia. The drought has affected 12 million across the Horn of Africa.

Source: Bloomberg and EuroNews

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