The United Nations (UN) on Wednesday announced it has received pledges of $2.4 billion to fund aid operations for some 32 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, the countries facing the worst drought in decades, reported Yahoo News.
The pledges were made at an event in New York, which was co-hosted by the UN, Italy, Qatar, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US), in collaboration with the three affected countries.
The donation, however, is less than the $7 Billion the organization was seeking as it warned against a possible catastrophe.
Notably, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia have been suffering the worst drought in four decades after five failed rainy seasons. According to the UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA, more than 23.5 million people are currently facing high levels of acute food insecurity in the three worst-drought-affected countries.
In Somalia alone, an estimated 43,000 people died in 2022, most likely due to the drought, half of whom may have been children under age 5.
According to the UN and Norwegian Refugee Council, The total number of people displaced in Somalia currently stands at 3.8 million, with 6.7 million people struggling to find food. The organizations added that more than half a million children are severely malnourished.
“People in the Horn of Africa are paying an unconscionable price for a climate crisis they did nothing to cause,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the pledging event in New York on Wednesday.
The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya said the funds pledged during the donors’ conference would allow humanitarian agencies to provide food, water, health care, nutrition, and protection services to the affected people.
She said the organization welcomed the announcements of support for the people of the Horn of Africa, who need a global sustained commitment to recover from a crisis of catastrophic proportions.
She added that countries must persist in pushing for stepped-up investments, especially to bolster the resilience of people already bearing the brunt of climate change.