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European Commission is providing U.S. $ 56
million dollars to tackle drought in East Africa

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The European Commission said Wednesday it’s mobilizing a further 5.6 billion shillings (56 million U.S. dollars) in emergency humanitarian funding to help the people hit by drought in the East Africa nations.

The EU said funding from the aid package will support drought-affected communities in Somalia (28 million dollars), Ethiopia (22.46 million dollars), Kenya (3.37 million dollars) and Uganda (2.24 million).

Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management said in a statement issued in Nairobi that the EU is stepping up its support for the people affected by a prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa.

"During my several visits to countries in the region, I have seen first hand how much climate extremes are affecting this part of Africa.

"Our funding will help extend humanitarian assistance in the affected areas, helping communities ward off the risk of famine," said Stylianides.

According to the EU, the prolonged drought is having devastating consequences on food availability and livelihoods with many in the region relying on livestock herding and subsistence farming.

The EU said the funds will go towards emergency food assistance and assistance to address immediate food needs; the provision of basic health services and the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in children under five years of age, and in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers; improving water access for both human and livestock consumption; and protecting households’ livelihoods.

Stylianides said the EU aid will contribute to assisting humanitarian agencies in the region to pre-emptively scale up their actions in the hardest hit areas.

"A spell of drought, following two poor rain seasons in a row, has put almost 13 million people in need of emergency food assistance across the region," said the EU.

It said more than four million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished, in addition to around three million malnourished pregnant and breastfeeding women.


Ethiopian Ministry warns over potential locust impacts on agriculture

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture on Sunday warned over the potential impact of Desert Locust summer breeding on the country’s agricultural production.

"There is a need to exert more efforts to combat the existing high probability of Desert Locust summer breeding, which spreads to parts of Ethiopia from its neighboring countries," the state-run news agency quoted officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture as saying on Sunday.

According to Alemayehu Birhanu, Public Relations Director at the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, the Desert Locust, which migrated from Somalia and Yemen, has been spotted across different parts of the East African country, mainly in parts of Ethiopia’s six major regional states.

The ministry, which recently received Desert Locust summer breeding caution from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has been collecting data from the ground on the status of Desert Locust in parts of the country, it was noted.

Birhanu, however, stressed that the Desert Locust that migrated from neighboring countries and spotted across different parts of Ethiopia "doesn’t pose a serious threat to Ethiopia’s agricultural production."

"Given the current heavy rains in areas where the Desert Locust spotted, there is a great need to implement measures to tackle the possible impact of on agricultural production," he added.

Last week, FAO had warned over the danger of Desert Locust summer breeding that "can pose a serious threat to agricultural production areas of Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea and parts of Ethiopia and northern Somalia during the next three months."

"This could result in potentially adverse impacts on the agricultural seasonal yields and local economies affecting food security and livelihoods of the populations in the countries concerned," FAO said in a statement.

It also stressed that "urgent Desert Locust control operations are required to safeguard crops and mitigate the risk of infestation in Yemen, as well as to prevent locust swarms from invading the neighboring countries."

Southern African Development Community member states face food deficit

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- A senior official with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat said on Sunday most of the 16 member states of the regional bloc were facing food deficit.

Domingos Gove, SADC Secretariat director for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, said the situation in terms of agriculture production in the region is bad.

"We have food deficit in member states of SADC with the exception of South Africa and Zambia which have comparative stocks," he told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam ahead of the 39th Ordinary SADC Summit of the Heads of State and Government planned for Aug. 17 and Aug. 18.

The official said rainfall situation has been bad in the entire region coupled with disasters such as cyclones that recently hit Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar and Comoros, leaving behind unthinkable devastation.

Gove said the SADC environment vulnerability assessment committee was monitoring the situation in SADC individual member states.

"We are working with national environment vulnerability committees.

"It is a continuous process," said Gove in an answer to Xinhua that had inquired about the food situation in the region.

National environment vulnerability assessment committees were addressing the impacts of climate change, he added.

SADC is an organization of 16 member states established in 1980 as the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference and later in August, 1992 transformed into the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The mission of SADC is to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient, productive systems, deeper cooperation and integration, good governance and durable peace and security so that the region emerges as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world economy.



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