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Press Release 00/30

CRISIS IN THE HORN OF AFRICA:  FAO ASKS FOR MORE THAN $30 MILLION EMERGENCY AID TO HELP PASTORALISTS AND FARMERS


Rome, 31 May - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today appealed for $32.6 million to bring urgently needed help to pastoralists, farmers and their families in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti.

Millions of people in the five countries of the Horn of Africa are suffering from hunger and malnutrition as a consequence of successive severe droughts. Pastoral areas in Ethiopia, northern Kenya and Somalia have been particularly affected by the loss of large numbers of livestock. The situation has been aggravated by armed conflicts and political and social instability, disrupting food production and causing large numbers of refugees and the displacement of many civilians.

"The support of the international community is urgently needed to help farmers and their families in the Horn of Africa to overcome the current food crisis and to stop the human tragedy," said Anne M. Bauer, Chief of FAO's Special Relief Operations Service at a donors' meeting at FAO headquarters in Rome.

"FAO's goal is to support crop planting and livestock production so that agriculture can start to recover within the next few months. However, a safe and secure environment is urgently needed so that people can return to their homes and fields and have access to emergency assistance and basic services and to encourage donors to invest in recovery and development in the region."

In Ethiopia, more than 8 million people, or 13 percent of the total population, are in need of agricultural assistance, FAO said. These farmers urgently require more than 8,000 tonnes of seeds and 355,000 hand tools for the upcoming planting season, so that they can start planting by mid-July at the latest. Emergency supplies of about $7.9 million will also include small irrigation pumps and other agricultural inputs.

FAO estimates that up to three million cattle, calves and milking cows have already died because of the current drought, in some areas up to 90 percent of the total. FAO has proposed an emergency livestock programme of about $2.5 million for emergency slaughter, disease surveillance, animal vaccines and technical support.

In Eritrea an estimated 367,000 people in the drought affected areas are in need of assistance to restart their crop and livestock production. The $4.7 million appeal for Eritrea includes the urgent provision of seeds, the reseeding of grazing lands to produce hay, the development of watering points for livestock and the provision of veterinary drugs.

In Somalia, about 750,000 people are suffering from rain and crop failure, environmental degradation and armed conflicts. Recent rains have slightly improved the overall situation, but also led to flooding in some areas. For the recovery of the agricultural sector around $5.6 million are required, mainly for seeds, and to provide technical assistance to rehabilitate agriculture, fodder production and veterinary assistance.

In Kenya, an estimated 103,000 farming households are in need of agricultural assistance, mainly seeds and tools for the next planting season starting in October. Large numbers of livestock have also been seriously affected by the drought. FAO asked donors to finance a $11.4 million emergency programme, of which around $10.5 million will be spent on emergency assistance to recover livestock production.

In Djibouti, more than $575,000 are needed for the urgent delivery of seeds and assistance to the livestock sector, FAO said.

The FAO appeal will be integrated into the joint UN Emergency Appeal for the Drought in the Horn of Africa, to be published in early June.

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For more information please contact: Erwin Northoff, tel: 0039-06-5705 3105, e-mail: Erwin.Northoff@fao.org


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