Africans in UK can hope for improvement in drought-stricken regions back home

Planes, trucks with crucial British-backed aid arrived in Horn of Africa

4th August 2011: Africans in the UK can look forward to some improvement in the drought-stricken regions in the Horn of Africa.
It covers approximately 2,000,000 km and is inhabited by about roughly 100 million people — Ethiopia: 85 million; Somalia: 9.3 million; Eritrea: 5.2 million; and Djibouti: 0.86 million.

The International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced planes and trucks carrying crucial British-backed aid have arrived in some of the most drought-stricken regions in the Horn of Africa.

 Aid flights have landed in Mogadishu and Baidoa, with further flights expected in the coming days, and lorry convoys are reaching Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and the Dolo Ado camp in Ethiopia.

Thousands of people in refugee camps in Kenya have now received crucial basic supplies such as tents and cooking equipment as well as vital medical supplies and safe drinking water.

The efforts are part of a large-scale aid effort targeted at regions in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, with British aid – delivered by aid agencies on the ground – set to get emergency help to over two million people. Thousands more tonnes will arrive shortly.

But emerging figures show that a crucial UN appeal for international help in the region remains 60 per cent under funded.

The International Development Secretary said donors who have been slow to respond must wake up to the seriousness of the situation on the ground.

The UN appeal for $2.4 billion to help the 12 million people at risk in the Horn of Africa has raised $1 billion.

Andrew Mitchell said: “British aid is getting through to thousands of families as we speak and that help will save lives. Britain is helping to feed 200,000 people in Somalia we will help more than two million people across the Horn of Africa.

“The swift action Britain has taken and the unparalleled generosity of the general public through the DEC appeal has ensured we are getting supplies to people in the hardest to reach places.

“But too many countries have failed to wake up to the scale of the situation and the response that is needed. It is time for people to step up their response or risk failing thousands of men, women and children who are in need of our help.”

A new aid tracker has also gone live on the Department for International Development’s website, with regular updates to enable the UK public to see where UK aid is helping in the Horn of Africa.

Immigration detainees are humans too. Treat them with compassion

After 5 years in custody, illegal immigrant seeks freedom