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IMF ready to help drought fight effort in Horn of Africa

(Xinhua)

11:09, August 25, 2011

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Wednesday it is ready to provide financial aid to countries in Northeast of Africa -- the Horn of Africa, to fight severe drought crisis.

"The IMF stands ready to provide financial assistance to affected countries, both by increasing support under existing programs and, where needed, through our Rapid Credit Facility, which provides quick-disbursing funds to countries facing an urgent balance of payments need," the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement on the drought in the Horn of Africa.

She said the 187-member international lender is committed to " help as much as possible in the international assistance effort" and "encourage others to join this effort".

"We are working closely in our areas of expertise with affected countries in the region, including in assessing the economic consequences and financing needs," Lagarde said.

The statement came a day ahead of an African Union meeting in Addis Ababa to raise relief funds for victims of East Africa's worst drought in decades, which has affected millions of people in parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda.

In a statement released on July 25, the World Bank, IMF's sibling institution based in Washington, also expressed their commitment to help the drought hit African area.

The bank announced it will provide more than 500 million dollars to help drought victims.

More than 11 million people in the region have been hit by one of the worst droughts in 60 years, resulting in widespread hunger, deaths, and the loss of subsistence crops and livestock, according to the World Bank.

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