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UN food agency seeks €84m in aid for Horn of Africa

The United Nations on Wednesday declared famine and appealed for emergency aid in two regions of drought-ravaged southern Somalia, warning that the crisis could spread further unless donors step in.

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AFP - Twelve million people in the drought-hit Horn of Africa region need emergency aid, the UN food agency said on Wednesday, appealing for $120 million (84 million euros) to help desperate farmers.

"Around 12 million people in the Horn of Africa are currently in need of emergency assistance," the Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a statement, adding that hundreds of people are dying every day in the crisis.

"FAO has appealed for $120 million for response to the drought in the Horn of Africa to provide agricultural emergency assistance," including in parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, the Rome-based organisation said.

FAO director Jacques Diouf, who will travel to Kenya to see the crisis first hand along with French Agriculture Minister Bruno Lemaire, said: "Hundreds of people are dying every day and if we do not act now many more will perish."

"We must avert a human tragedy of vast proportions. And much as food assistance is needed now, we also have to scale up investments in sustainable immediate and medium-term interventions that help farmers," he said.

The UN earlier on Wednesday said two parts of rebel-held southern Somalia were now hit by famine and warned this would widen without immediate action.

FAO said it needed $70 million for Somalia alone and the rest for Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda.

"A rare combination of conflict and insecurity, limited access for humanitarian organisations, successive harvest failures and a lack of food assistance has jeopardised an entire population in southern Somalia," FAO said.

The Horn of Africa, which often sees food crises and civil strife, is particularly vulnerable this year because the drought is the worst in 60 years.

FAO said it was hosting emergency talks in Rome on Monday "to address the escalating crisis in the Horn of Africa and mobilise international support."

 

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