U.N. calls emergency meeting on east Africa famine

ROME Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:04pm EDT

People roll and drag water containers in Wajir, Kenya, July 21, 2011. REUTERS/Jakob Dall/Danish Red Cross

People roll and drag water containers in Wajir, Kenya, July 21, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jakob Dall/Danish Red Cross

ROME (Reuters) - The United Nations has called an emergency meeting on July 25 to discuss mobilizing aid for drought-stricken east Africa, where famine has been declared in parts of Somalia.

A wide swathe of east Africa, including Kenya and Ethiopia, has been hit by years of severe drought and the United Nations says two regions of southern Somalia are suffering the worst famine for 20 years, with 3.7 million people facing starvation.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization announced an emergency meeting at its Rome headquarters on Monday to be attended by ministers and senior representatives from its 191 member countries, other U.N. bodies, NGOs and regional development banks.

The meeting was called at the request of France, current president of the Group of 20 leading economies.

British charity Oxfam accused several European governments Wednesday of willful neglect in reacting to the crisis, with an $800 million aid shortfall slowing the international response.

Years of anarchic conflict in southern Somalia have exacerbated the emergency, preventing aid agencies from helping communities in the area. Nearly 135,000 Somalis have fled since January, mainly to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, with many small children dying during the journey.

Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda, who control much of southern and central Somalia, imposed a ban on food aid in 2010, but lifted it earlier this month as the crisis worsened.

(editing by Elizabeth Piper)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
victur wrote:
Please Read ISHMAEL by daniel Quinn. By sending food we cause the population to rise thus creating more starving people. The population will control itself. Our first instinct is to help but we are really hurting them more. money=food=population. Let go and let god. We are not enlightened enough to feed people.

Jul 21, 2011 7:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
stambo2001 wrote:
No oil + no photogenic white people = no political advantage to doing a thing. So sorry, but human rights and equality only exist under quid pro quo rules in today’s world.

Jul 21, 2011 8:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.


California's historic drought

With reservoirs at record lows, California is in the midst of the worst drought in decades.  Slideshow