Horn of Africa summit calls for joint action to help millions

25 September, 2011
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and USG Valerie Amos address attendees at the Ministerial Mini-Summit on Humanitarian Response in The Horn of Africa on 24 September 2011. Credit: OCHA/Dan DeLorenzo
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and USG Valerie Amos address attendees at the Ministerial Mini-Summit on Humanitarian Response in The Horn of Africa on 24 September 2011. Credit: OCHA/Dan DeLorenzo

Leaders from more than 60 countries came together Saturday at a United Nations mini-Summit on the crisis in the Horn of Africa, chaired by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, to raise awareness of the scale and urgency of the humanitarian situation in the region.

“Together, we must act to help the millions suffering in the Horn of Africa now, and find sustainable ways to build resilience against future drought and food crises," said ERC Valerie Amos. “We must keep this crisis and the plight of the people suffering because of it in the spotlight. I thank the governments who have given generously both today and over the last months.”

During the event, more than US$218 million*of new humanitarian aid was pledged by Norway, Republic of Korea, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Finland, Italy, Belgium, the Russian Federation, Luxembourg, Chile and Hungary.

A coordinated and effective response essential

Keynote speakers at the summit included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Omar Guellah of Djibouti, Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali of Somalia, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, and representatives of other Member States and aid organizations involved in the humanitarian response.

Speakers expressed their commitment to a united, coordinated and effective response, called for greater access and safety for humanitarian workers to save more lives at this critical time. They also pledged to increase their focus on building resilience to make communities better able to withstand future crises.

The largest humanitarian emergency in the world today

More than 13 million people hit by drought and famine need urgent help in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Somalia is the worst hit country, with 4 million of the country’s estimated 7.5 million people in crisis. Working together, humanitarian partners are trying to reach as many of them as possible.

Josette Sheeran of the World Food Programme noted that “while droughts may not be preventable, famines are. In areas where the humanitarian community has access, millions of hungry are being reached with life-saving action and lasting hunger solutions are being deployed that cover the full spectrum of food security.”

The Appeals for the Horn of Africa – requesting$2.48 billion – still need around $480 million to help the people most in need of assistance. (*Using the UN Operational Exchange rate).

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