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World Bank ups food aid in horn of Africa

Xinhua | Updated: 2011-09-26 09:31

NAIROBI - The World Bank has increased its support from more than 500 million dollars to $1.88 billion to countries in the Horn of Africa and its neighboring regions that are facing one of the worst drought and famine coupled with malnutrition, the Bank's top official said here on Sunday.

Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank Vice President for Africa said in a statement on Sunday that the allocation was based on a preliminary needs assessments conducted by Bank's disaster experts in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somali Refugee camps and Uganda.

"The Bank's response plan builds on the institution's strategy for Africa, which calls for reducing vulnerability and building resilience to natural disasters and climate change by leveraging partnerships, knowledge and financing," she said.

The resources will be allocated over a three-phase response period, which includes rapid response ($288 million) in fiscal year 2012 (ends on June 30), economic recovery ($384 million) through fiscal year 2014, and drought resilience ($1.2 billion) in the long-term.

The overall thrust of the Bank's response seeks to link short- term crisis mitigation with long-term development objectives both at country and regional levels.

"Working with a vast array of partners and complementing their efforts, our most urgent priority is to save lives, restore incomes and bring back the productive capacity of families and businesses," Ezekwesili added.

The Horn of Africa and its neighboring countries face recurring droughts, with climate change making them more intensive. More than 13 million people across the sub-region are now in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. U.N. estimates show that the financial need for immediate, short-term drought relief assistance is 2.4 billion dollars.

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