1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Horn of Africa: $1.4 billion pledged amid starvation warning

Kieran Burke
April 26, 2022

Just under $1.4 billion in aid is pledged as regional drought threatens millions with starvation. The UN is worried that another poor season of rain could be catastrophic.

A severely malnourished baby receives treatment at a UNICEF-supported stabilization center in Ethiopia
The UN has warned that millions are in danger of starvation in the Horn of AfricaImage: Zerihun Sewunet/UNICEF/AP Photo/picture alliance

The UN's head of emergency relief sounded the warning on Tuesday that upwards of 2 million children are at risk of starving to death, while millions of others faced severe food insecurity.

That's as the Horn of Africa region faces what the UN is calling its worst drought in 40 years, leaving Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya at risk.

The UN described the situation as stark in six areas of Somalia, where if seasonal rains did not fall, famine could result.

4 million Somalis in danger of starvation

Call for funding answered

Speaking at a donor conference in Geneva, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths laid out the dire situation and said that only a fraction of the budget was in hand.

"Once again, vulnerable people across the Horn of Africa are falling victim to the cruelty of acute hunger and potential famine in a crisis that is not of their own making. We must all step up and show the people of this region that we are here to help alleviate their suffering," Griffiths said, adding that if there were to be a fourth failed rainy season, it could bring with it "one of the worst climate-induced emergencies in its history."

Shortly after Griffiths made his appeal, donors pledged $1.39 billion (€1.3 billion) for humanitarian and development aid.

Griffiths thanks donors for their contributions, which fell just short of the entire budget necessary for relief operations to continue.

According to the UN, as a result of the funding, humanitarian agencies will be able to provide urgent food, nutrition, cash and health assistance.

It will also help provide for fodder and medicines to help keep livestock alive. Reuters news agency reported that the European Union, who were co hosts of the event, pledged $674 million towards food security while Canada stumped up $73 million.

Reuters material contributed to this report.

Edited by Mark Hallam.