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US Gives Additional $17 Million in African Famine Aid

Tons of relief from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is offloaded after landing at Mogadishu airport, Somalia (File Photo)

The United States has announced an additional $17 million in funding to help Horn of Africa nations deal with regional drought and famine.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Thursday that $12 million of the aid would go to Somalia which has been worst hit by the drought.

The United States has so far given $580 million in humanitarian assistance to the region, including $105 million announced Monday.

Speaking in Washington, Secretary Clinton described the situation in the Horn of Africa as "the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world today." She says the aid is meant to assist some 4.6 million people affected by the drought and famine.

On Wednesday, the United Nations warned that famine in Somalia has not yet peaked. The U.N. refugee agency said an average of 1,500 Somali refugees continue to pour into Kenya each day.

Meanwhile, a U.N. official says Somali women and girls making the journey are being raped by armed militants, soldiers and bandits both in Somalia and Kenya.

The U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Margot Wallstrom, says more support must be extended to survivors of sexual violence. She is also calling for effective refugee camp management to minimize the risk facing women and girls.

The Dadaab refugee camps in northeast Kenya currently hold more than 450,000 refugees - more than four times the number of people they were designed to hold.