Donors pledge $1.39 bn for Horn of Africa humanitarian aid

The money raised will go towards humanitarian and development projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, as the region experiences its 'worst drought in 40 years,' a statement by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

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UNITED NATIONS, United States - A donor conference organised in Geneva has raised $1.39 billion for the Horn of Africa, where an ongoing drought threatens millions of people with severe food insecurity, the UN announced Tuesday.

The money raised will go towards humanitarian and development projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, as the region experiences its "worst drought in 40 years," a statement by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

"The situation is particularly stark in six areas of Somalia, where famine is likely if rains fail this season, if food prices continue to rise and if humanitarian assistance is not scaled up to reach the most vulnerable populations," the statement added.

Humanitarian organizations had requested $1.4 billion for programs in the region.

"With the funds pledged today, humanitarian agencies will provide urgent food, nutrition, cash and health assistance, as well as fodder and medicines to keep livestock alive," the UN said.

The Horn of Africa is experiencing its fourth consecutive poor rainy season, the UN statement said, noting that "one million people have left their homes due to a lack of water or pasture, and at least three million livestock have died."

The UN said Tuesday that more than six million people in Somalia are "acutely food insecure," as well as 3.5 million in Kenya and 6.5 million in Ethiopia.

Last week, the UN's World Food Programme warned that as long-awaited rains fail to materialise, the number of people risking starvation in the Horn of Africa could rise to 20 million by the end of 2022.