UNITED STATES NEWS

UN conference raises less than $1 billion for climate-wracked Horn of Africa in major disappointment

May 24, 2023, 6:30 AM | Updated: 4:04 pm

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A high-level U.N. conference on Wednesday raised less than $1 billion of the more than $5 billion organizers were hoping for to help over 30 million people in the Horn of Africa cope with a major climate crisis and mass displacement after years of conflict, a major disappointment to aid agencies.

The U.N. appealed for $7 billion this year to provide food and other humanitarian assistance for the three Horn of Africa countries – Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, and had only received $1.6 billion. After pledges were tallied, the U.N. humanitarian office said the total funding for 2023 now stands at $2.4 billion.

That means only $800 million in new funding was announced Wednesday – over 60% from the United States which made an additional donation of $524 million . That brought its total to more than $1.4 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged would-be donors at the start of the pledging conference to make an immediate and major injection of funding to prevent the crisis caused by the longest drought on record, massive displacement and skyrocketing food prices “from turning into catastrophe.”

“People in the Horn of Africa are paying an unconscionable price for a climate crisis they did nothing to cause,” he said. “Without an immediate and major injection of funding, emergency operations will grind to a halt, and people will die.”

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who visited the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in September, said humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa are now greater than ever, “with over 23.5 million persons facing acute food insecurity” which is why the U.S. has pledged additional funds.

“Right now, the global community is simply not meeting the moment,” she told the conference, warning that “the threat of famine looms.”

“In a world abundant with food, entire communities should never, never starve to death,” Thomas-Greenfield stressed.

But the results of the pledging conference co-hosted by the U.S., UK, Italy and Qatar were anything but bold.

According to the U.N. humanitarian office, there were 25 countries that made announcements along with the European Commission, Islamic Relief and the U.N.’s emergency humanitarian fund. But it said some pledges included funds for 2024 and beyond.

Germany’s U.N. Ambassador Antje Leendertse told the conference the 210 million euros ($226 million) in humanitarian aid for the three countries in 2023 and 2024 doesn’t include substantial funding “for development and stabilization” in the Horn of Africa.

UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell said the country pledged $119 million for the three Horn of Africa countries. In addition, he said, the UK pledged $27 million for Sudan, $23 million for South Sudan and $9 million for Uganda, taking its total new funding up to $178 million.

Alison Huggins, deputy director for Africa for the relief organization Mercy Corps which has worked in the Horn of Africa since 2004, said it takes the results of the conference “with a grain of salt because many of these pledges were just confirmations of existing financing commitments and remain insufficient in light of the region’s urgent and expanding needs and the many lives still hanging in the balance.”

She said people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya contribute less than 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, but they are “suffering the consequences of human-induced climate change.”

The humanitarian agency CARE said the region is facing the worst food crisis in 40 years, pointing to drought, two locust invasions, conflict and rising commodity prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Over 31 million people need emergency aid, more than 2.5 million have left their homes, and on, due to the extreme weather more than 13.2 million livestock — a key money earner — have perished.

According to the U.N. humanitarian office known as OCHA, the Horn of Africa is the epicenter of one of the world’s worst climate emergencies.

Last year, an estimated 43,000 people died in Somalia, most likely due to drought – and half of the victims may have been children under the age of five, OCHA said.

While improved rains are starting to ease the impact of drought, they are also causing flooding and damage which has affected at least 900,000 people — and more flooding is expected later this year, OCHA said. And regardless of the rains, it will take years to recover from the historic drought.

In Somalia, where more than 6 million people are going hungry, a famine has yet to be declared, but some humanitarian and climate officials have warned that current trends are worse than in the 2011 famine, in which 250,000 people died.

Somalia is also grappling with insecurity due to the al-Shabab extremist group, which has ties to al-Qaida and has fought the Somali federal government in Mogadishu for years. The group intensified attacks on military bases in recent months after losing territory in rural areas to government forces.

In Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, nearly all the 6 million people rely on food aid after two years of civil war. Government-imposed restrictions on humanitarian relief had pushed parts of the region to the brink of famine until aid deliveries resumed after the war stopped with a cease-fire in November.

But the U.N. and USAID, the U.S. aid agency, announced earlier this month that they were suspending all food assistance to investigate the theft of humanitarian supplies.

___

Associated Press writer Evelyne Musambi in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.

United States News

This Aug. 17, 2021 photo shows Quagga mussels cover the engine of a Bell P-39 Airacobra military pl...

Associated Press

Historians race to find Great Lakes shipwrecks before quagga mussels destroy the sites

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Great Lakes’ frigid fresh water used to keep shipwrecks so well preserved that divers could see dishes in the cupboards. Downed planes that spent decades underwater were left so pristine they could practically fly again when archaeologists finally discovered them. Now, an invasive mussel is destroying shipwrecks deep in the […]

33 minutes ago

This image provided by Tulane University shows Nick Spitzer, host of the weekly public radio music ...

Associated Press

Louisiana folklorist and Mississippi blues musician among 2023 National Heritage Fellows

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana folklorist Nick Spitzer and Mississippi blues musician R.L. Boyce are among nine 2023 National Heritage Fellows set to be celebrated later this month by the National Endowment for the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors in the folk and traditional arts. Spitzer and Boyce are scheduled to accept the […]

33 minutes ago

Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

3 hours ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

4 hours ago

(AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)...

Associated Press

As migrants overwhelm a Texas border city, others wait in Mexico for appointments to enter the US

Some migrants who arrive at the border stop in Texas only stop for a quick meal before crossing the Rio Grande.

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Seattle police officer put on leave after newspaper reports alleged off-duty racist comments

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer has been placed on administrative leave after Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said Friday he listened to an audio recording including comments by the officer that led to the filing of a bias/hate complaint. “As I have said from the beginning of my tenure as Chief of Police, […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.

Sanderson Ford...

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford congratulates D-backs’ on drive to great first half of 2023

The Arizona Diamondbacks just completed a red-hot first half of the major league season, and Sanderson Ford wants to send its congratulations to the ballclub.

...

Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.

UN conference raises less than $1 billion for climate-wracked Horn of Africa in major disappointment