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Thu Oct 30 16:30:25 SAST 2014

UN raises Horn of Africa appeal to $2.4 billion

Sapa-AFP | 29 July, 2011 13:52
A newly arrived Somali refugee carries firewood using a donkey cart outside the Ifo 2 refugee camp in Dadaab
A newly arrived Somali refugee carries firewood using a donkey cart outside the Ifo 2 refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, July 28, 2011. Thousands of Somalis fleeing drought, famine and war have started moving into a new extension of the world's largest refugee camp in Kenya, which is increasingly concerned about bearing the brunt of the Horn of Africa crisis.
Image by: THOMAS MUKOYA / REUTERS

The UN raised its Horn of Africa humanitarian appeal Friday to $2.48 billion for 12.4 million drought-hit people, warning that famine could spread across the region if donors default.

"Without the needed additional voluntary contributions, it is anticipated that the impact of the famine may spread throughout southern Somalia and over the borders into neighbouring countries within the coming one to two months," UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

In a revised appeal which seeks 25 percent more funds than earlier this week, OCHA said that some 12.4 million people are now in need of aid, up 1.6 million since July 15.

But it warned that those in need of assistance could grow a further 25 percent in three to four months.

The United Nations declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia on July 20, as severe drought wiped out livestock and left millions in need of food and water in the country which is already suffering from civil unrest.

The situation is "rapidly deteriorating", said OCHA in a grim description of humanitarian needs.

It is also pushing thousands of Somalis across the border into the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.

There are already over 620,000 Somali refugees in the three neighbouring countries, but over 1,000 more are arriving every day, "overwhelming the already-stretched response capacity", OCHA said.

Millions more have also been displaced within Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

So far, the UN has received around $1 billion of the required $2.48 billion, OCHA said. The total amount needed was last raised to $1.99 billion on July 25.

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