More than 20 million people are suffering from hunger as a result of the severe drought and conflicts in this densely populated region. Norway is now allocating NOK 40 million in emergency relief to victims of the drought.
“I am deeply concerned about the civilian population, who are severely affected,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim. “The situation is acute. Nearly half of the world’s food aid goes to the Horn of Africa today. At the same time we must focus on finding lasting political solutions to the conflicts in the region.”
The Norwegian allocation has already been disbursed, most of it through the World Food Programme (WFP).
It is vital to increase food security in the region. In Somalia, the security situation of aid workers is so precarious that it is affecting the distribution of emergency aid. Kenya and Ethiopia are in a position to feed their own populations, but food aid undermines local food production and the people’s ability to help themselves. This creates new crises.
Norway is one of the largest donors to the Horn of Africa. Total Norwegian assistance to Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia in 2009 will total approximately NOK 270 million.
Press contact: Press Duty Officer, development, mobile phone: +47 913 95 000 (Oslo).