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AFRICA: UN Chief Calls For Greater International Support to Northeast Africa

(United Nations / FOCUS News Agency) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday said international assistance should be intensified to solve the increasingly worsened crisis that has been plaguing Northeast Africa, also known as the Horn of Africa.

Ban’s statement came at a ministerial mini-summit on humanitarian response to the Horn of Africa which was held on the sidelines of the ongoing general debate of the UN General Assembly ‘s 66th session.

“The Horn of Africa is in crisis, and that crisis grows deeper by the day,” Ban said. “In Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti, more than 13 million people need our help.”
According to Ban, there is a shortage of about 700 million U.S. dollars in assistance needed in 2011 for the region.

The food crisis in the Horn of Africa has been caused by drought and rising food prices. Saturday’s mini-summit is aimed at raising vital funds for needs in the African region.
Also at the meeting, Nassir Abdulaziz Al- Nasser, president of the General Assembly, called the humanitarian disaster in Northeast Africa to be on an “unimaginable scale.”

“As the world’s preeminent forum for international peace and security, it is our collective responsibility to provide moral and financial support to these highly vulnerable populations,” Al- Nasser said. “The rights to food, life and security are, after all, universal human rights.”

Al-Nasser said the General Assembly will focus on the humanitarian crisis there, pledging “we must also share the information and work closely and cooperative to ensure all needs are met” in addressing the complex issue.

“Underpinning our work must be the recognition that humanitarian issues are development issues, and that our success in protecting against natural disasters, such as extreme drought, will have a direct impact on the ability to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” he said.

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