Moral obligation to aid Horn of Africa

2011-08-24 17:07

Brussels - EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton urged world governments on Wednesday to meet a "moral obligation" to pump new emergency aid into the drought-hit Horn of Africa.

"Faced with the worst droughts in 60 years, over 12 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti are in urgent need of food, water and shelter," Ashton said on the eve of an African Union international donor conference in Addis Ababa.

"The situation is grave, and it is a moral obligation of the international community to offer its help," she said.

Citing EU commitments she tallied at nearly $1.9bn through until 2013, she said the 27-state European Union "calls on those attending... to continue to do likewise" in raising their own levels of aid.

The demands are huge, with a $1.1bn shortfall from a total $2.4bn needed, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha).

Somalia worst hit

Somalia is the worst hit, with several southern regions in famine, where more than 390 000 children are at risk of dying from malnutrition, according to Ocha.

The UN has described Somalia, where a civil war has been going on since 1991, as facing the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world.

Campaign organisers have said the African Union (AU) should offer a minimum of $50m to relief efforts. The AU has so far pledged $500 000.

Last week the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation pledged $350m.

Humanitarian commitment raised

Ashton said the EU's immediate humanitarian commitment for this year had risen from $140m to $228m, while national aid pledges from its member states totalled a further $636m.

The money has been used to provide food, health care, water and sanitation facilities from Somalia to a refugee camp in Kenya.

She said another $982m in long-term aid is focused on "agriculture, rural development and food security".

She underlined: "Drought comes on top of many other problems facing the countries of the Horn of Africa".

These involve "scarce resources, climate change, high population growth, a lack of infrastructure and market access, distorted trade patterns, and high cereal and fuel prices".

She also highlighted the role of anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia.

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-08-24 17:42

    Let Zuma and the AU find the funds from his dictator-mates. The more Europe gives,the more corruption happens.

      tryanything - 2011-08-24 17:47

      Agreed whats the point of them giving us money when all that happens is it makes its way to various Swiss accounts...

  • John - 2011-08-24 17:55

    They've already poured $1Billion down that hole. Didn't help, it just got worse. What a waste of money. Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti -- these are the haters of Western "imperialists" are they not?

  • ian.d.samson - 2011-08-24 18:00

    There is no "moral obligation" to feed Islamic terrorists or those who have over-populated Somalia. The world is not the Reserve Bank for nations that do not know how to control their own population growth, or allow their territories to be ruled by terrorists.

  • Colin - 2011-08-24 18:14

    moral obligation to pour billions into aid for africa while they keep on blaming the west for all their mistakes? let them learn from their mistakes for once, maybe they won't make the same ones again

  • Sven - 2011-08-24 20:09

    There is no "Moral Obligation" in fact the "Moral" thing to do is leave them to die if Africa does not raise the money needed to avoid the catastrophe from their own corrupt pockets. The Moral thing for the West to do is to help their poor first before becoming the Nurse maid to the corrupt, over-breeding, West hating African countries, especially those that are facing starvation. Is it not hilariously funny that South Africa has managed to pledge a million Rand to the famine relief in the Horn of Africa, while propping up that slovenly, miscreant of a dictator in Swaziland with R2 Billion.

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