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Worst drought in the Horn of Africa in 60 years

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The Australian Government is helping feed people in desperate need of assistance following consecutive droughts across the Horn of Africa.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the UN has described the food shortages as the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world today.

“Southern Somalia is the worst hit, with a third of children under 5 malnourished,” Mr Rudd said.

“More than ten million people in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are affected, and thousands of Somalis are arriving in Kenya and Ethiopia every month in search of assistance.”

Australia will contribute $11.2 million through partners including the World Food Programme and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to help meet urgent food needs.

Australian assistance will help the World Food Programme provide food for Somali and Sudanese refugees that have fled their homes for Kenya, and it will support the UN Food and Agriculture organisation to help farmers in Somalia through livestock vaccinations and veterinary services. It will also improve access to food and health services in Somalia through a joint fund managed by the United Nations.

“Australian specialists have also been deployed from RedR to support the work of UN humanitarian agencies in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia,” Mr Rudd said.

“These are dark days for the Horn of Africa.

“The world cannot stand by and witness a repeat of the mistakes of the 1984 famine, where delays in an international response saw a catastrophic loss of life.”

Australia will continue to closely monitor the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa, and stands ready to assist further as required.