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FAO summit calls for funds, long-term projects to tackle Horn of Africa drought


09:41, August 19, 2011

ROME, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)called for funds and immediate aid projects to tackle the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa at an emergency meeting here on Thursday.

The appeal was made during FAO's second global roundup meeting to address the root causes of the famine that have affected over 12 million peoples, state television Rai reported.

Talking at the opening of the summit, the FAO director general Jacques Diouf urged further investments in agriculture and direct aid to farmers to sustain their livelihoods, including technological projects aimed at spreading irrigation and water access, which is the main trouble of the region.

"It is our duty to help the populations of the Horn of Africa because it is unacceptable that today with the modern technologies and professional competencies available, over 12 million people are currently dying of hunger", said Diouf.

"If governments and international donors fail to invest now in concrete action plans which we have already developed, the drought will worsen and turn into another cause for global shame," he warned, stressing that the outlook was fated to worse because of climate change effects.

Diouf thus asked for immediate food aid to help the countries suffering most from the drought, including Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya, but also urged focus on long term needs like assistance to local producers and farmers.

The emergency meeting was attended by delegates from UN member countries, UN agencies and international organizations. It followed the first FAO summit on July 25, which was launched to find a way out of the drought-driven crisis in Horn of Africa.

The most affected country in the region is Somalia, where the number of people in need of humanitarian aid has increased from 2.4 million to 3.7 million in the last six months.

The FAO has repeatedly appealed to world nations for an urgent allocation of some 120 million U.S. dollars in agricultural emergency assistance.


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