Agencies seek billions of dollars in food aid for African countries

Aid organizations and officials have launched appeals for billions of dollars in funding to bring food aid to millions of people in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Sudan.

Ethiopia's 1.4-billion-dollar drought appeal remains less than half funded, Save the Children said Wednesday, warning that the country needs pledges of 750 million dollars by March to ensure that food is distributed in the dry season.

The drought caused by the climatic phenomenon known as El Nino has left more than 10 million Ethiopians, including up to 6 million children, dependent on food aid, according to the aid agency.

Zimbabwe's Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa meanwhile appealed to the international community for 1.6 billion dollars to cover food imports for 3 million people who are deemed food insecure, up from an earlier estimate of 2.5 million.

"So far 60 million dollars was mobilized," said Bishow Parajuli, the UN resident coordinator in Zimbabwe.

The UN humanitarian agency OCHA on Tuesday launched an alert for South Sudan, saying it had only received 2 per cent of the 1.3 billion dollars needed to help 2.8 million people in urgent need of food assistance.

They include 40,000 who are on the brink of catastrophe, the statement said.

The drought caused by El Nino has hit vast parts of southern and eastern Africa, where about 50 million people face food insecurity, according to UN figures.

In South Sudan, however, the need for assistance is caused mainly by a military conflict between the government and rebels.

Last update: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 17:11

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