Photo: UN Photo /Stuart Price
"The drought in the Horn of Africa is critical and gives cause for serious concern. The extent of the crisis will be worse than first assumed. We have therefore decided to increase Norway’s contribution by NOK 30 million, bringing the total up to NOK 263 million. We will do our part, but the whole international community must respond rapidly in order to prevent this crisis becoming even worse,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The flows of people fleeing the drought in Somalia are increasing. Every day, thousands more arrive at the refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. The situation in Somalia is steadily getting worse and many people are also fleeing to the capital, Mogadishu.
Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim commented, “This is the most serious food crisis in the world at this time. We were warned that it would happen. It is affecting people who have been hit by two disasters at once: conflict and drought. Right now it is important to save lives. But we must not forget that climate change exacerbates disasters such as this.”
The UN reported earlier that more than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are in need of food. The figures presented by the UN in recent days show that the crisis is even more extensive, and famine is reported in certain areas. The situation is particularly serious in southern Somalia.
“It is important that the international community provides emergency relief. Together with its partners, Norway will do what it can to help to relive those who are suffering in the Horn of Africa. We are in continuous contact with the authorities in the affected countries, but at the same time, the conflict in Somalia is making relief efforts more difficult,” said Mr Støre.
The new contribution of NOK 30 million is in addition to the nearly NOK 233 million that was allocated previously. This brings Norway’s total contribution up to NOK 263 million. Most of the additional funding will be transferred to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support its efforts to protect refugees. Earlier this year, Norway provided around NOK 200 million to the main humanitarian actors in the Horn of Actor, including a contribution to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).