European Commission asked support to African governments in fighting drought and hunger in the Horn of Africa

The EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva requested at the African Union meeting more help from the African governments in order to fight against the current situation of hunger in the Horn of Africa. In most areas affected by drought, malnutrition rates exceed 30% which is more than double the internationally recognised emergency threshold.

Commissioner Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response asked at the African Union conference in which the African governments and international donors were gathered, to provide a response to the drought and famine situation in the Horn of Africa. Ms Georgieva stressed that drought cannot be avoided, but hunger can. Thus for the Commissioner it is essential taking immediate measures combined with long-term support for sustainable livelihoods.

So far €600 million has been committed by the EU to helping the suffering people of Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia. Climate change, decades of civil war and under-development in the region have contributed to the first declaration of famine by the United Nations since almost a million Ethiopians starved to death in 1984. Moreover, the crisis is deepening with famine expected to spread further across Somalia in the coming weeks.

In addition, the Commission has allocated €97.47 million in humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa to respond to this emergency situation in the Horn of Africa. Also, it is preparing to step up its support even further, bringing humanitarian support to the drought-affected populations in the Horn to €158 million during 2011. EU funds provide critically needed food aid, particularly to severely malnourished children, as well as healthcare and clean water, sanitation facilities and supplies.