The top U.N. humanitarian official says that conflict, drought, and the
global food crisis are worsening the already dire situation in the Horn
of Africa. This has left millions of people needing emergency food
assistance to combat severe food shortages. From U.N. headquarters, intern Maha Saad has the story.
Humanitarian Chief John Holmes says that the long-standing crisis in
the Horn of Africa has been made worse by the global food crisis.
point is that large areas of the Horn of Africa, including parts of
Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Uganda, and Kenya, are now in or
sliding towards a humanitarian emergency," said John Holmes. "And we
believe there are something like 14 million people now in urgent need
of food aid and other humanitarian assistance in the coming months."
says drought and rising food and fuel prices have heightened the crisis
along with on-going conflicts in many nations, particularly in Somalia.
is an intense conflict going on in parts of Somalia," he said. "We
calculated something like 850,000 people have been forced to leave
Mogadishu over the last year because of the fighting there. So, you
have a compounded problem of the ordinary population with an additional
population of newly displaced people facing these severe food
In Ethiopia, Holmes says a severe drought and
diseases such as diarrhea, measles, and meningitis, have compounded the
"In Southern Ethiopia, where there is a
severe drought, a joint assessment by the government and international
humanitarian partners reveals that 4.6 million people were now in need
of food emergency support," said Holmes. "And as part of those 4.7
million, we believe there is something like 75,000 children severely
Holmes is urging the international community, as
well as national governments, to ensure that the necessary resources
are available to deal with this crisis and to curb the effects of
malnutrition, including stunted growth and susceptibility to diseases.