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U.S. gives nearly $524 million in drought aid to Horn of Africa

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Wednesday announced nearly $524 million in U.S. humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa to help people struggling to find food and water in a drought across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 3 | U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Wednesday announced nearly $524 million in U.S. humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa to help people struggling to find food and water in a drought across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 24 (UPI) -- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Wednesday announced nearly $524 million in drought aid for the Horn of Africa.

"When I visited Mogadishu in January, I heard firsthand how the drought impacted the food supply and the increased potential for famine," Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement. "While there, I announced over $40 million in additional funding from the United States to Somalia to save lives and meet humanitarian needs."

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She said more than 23.5 million people are facing acute food insecurity, and that's why the United States is continuing to support humanitarian aid to the region.

In April, a multi-national group of scientists found that human-induced climate change is worsening the Horn of Africa drought.

The U.S. aid includes nearly $108 million from the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and over $416 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

With Wednesday's announcement, total U.S. aid to the region in 2023 will be more than $1.4 billion. The money will be used for lifesaving support for people in the Horn of Africa who have been affected by the drought, food insecurity, and conflict.

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"A storm of crises has pushed millions across the Horn of Africa to the brink," Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement. "A long, protracted drought has exacerbated acute food insecurity. Recent flash floods have wiped out entire homes and livelihoods. And conflict in neighboring countries has also had a devastating impact on vulnerable populations, including internally displaced persons and refugees."

Humanitarian groups in the region have launched a collective Humanitarian Response Plan calling for a cumulative total of $7 billion in assistance.

"We must act now to prevent crisis from turning into catastrophe," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. "Let us act together now -- with greater urgency and far greater support."

Thomas-Greenfield said the global community must heed that call.

She also called for building more sustainable and resilient food systems around the world to adapt to the effects of climate change.

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