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Sudan Tribune

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Africa to organise donor conference on Somali famine

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

August 2, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – The African Union said it will convene a funding conference to assist millions of people affected by drought and famine in the East African region, according to an AU Commission statement.

AU Deputy Chairman Erasmus Mwencha while visiting the AU peacekeeping mission in the Somali capital, Mogadishu said the fund raising conference to be held on August 9 will pave a way to alleviate the crisis which is threatening the lives of some 12 million people among whom 3.5 million of the worst affected are in Somalia.

Last month Somalia’s weak administration appealed for international intervention in fight against the worst famine in decades.

Last week the 54 member bloc during a special session of its Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa called on all member states to “contribute, in whatever way they can” to combat the drought and famine in Somalia.

The summit on Somalia famine will bring together African heads of states, regional economic blocs, African humanitarian NGOs and international organisations.

The Sudanese government has announced it will provide substantial aid in response to the crisis. The Ethiopian government has also pledged to provide transportation and logistical support to Somalia after Somalia President, Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed met Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Monday in Addis Ababa.

The United Nations said $2.5 billion in aid is needed to help those suffering in Somalia and also to prevent the famine spreading to six more regions of the nation.

(ST)