Germany's foreign minister has pledged an extra 15 million euros to prevent mass starvation in the Horn of Africa. The UN says 20 million people face famine in four countries, including Somalia and South Sudan.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) has appealed to the international community for "a rapid, concerted effort" to avoid a major famine on the Horn of Africa, the Lake Chad region and in South Sudan.
"If comprehensive international aid doesn't begin soon, millions of people in the affected regions will be threatened by starvation," Gabriel said on Sunday.
The Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader promised United Nations emergency aid coordinator Stephen O' Brien that Germany would double its aid commitment to the Horn of Africa, with a pledge of an additional 15 million euros ($16 million) of relief money.
Gabriel warned that "without a massive and sustained commitment by the international community, we will not help in time."
Gabriel called on other donors to quickly offer aid to the affected regions, adding that he would soon hold talks with major aid agencies and donor states.
Until now, only about ten percent of the required $1.6 billion in aid has been committed.
Germany recently promised 120 million euros in aid to help stabilize the Lake Chad region, where Boko Haram carries out regular attacks in four neighboring countries. In recent day, the Berlin government then added 40 million euros for South Sudan, the foreign office said.
Meanwhile, aid agencies have criticized the South Sudan government for increasing the cost of working visas for their relief workers from $300 to $10,000.
Amnesty International accused the government of "profiting from the crisis," just a month after ministers declared a famine in two regions.
mm/jm (AFP, dpa, KNA)
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