UK pleads for increased aid to drought-stricken East Africa

File: Two thirds of the money will go to Somalia, while the rest will be allocated to Ethiopia. Photo: AFP / Ziniyange Auntony

ADDIS ABABA - The United Kingdom called for increased aid to East Africa and pledged R1.5-trillion to the region, which was gripped by a drought.

Two-thirds of the money would go to Somalia, while the rest would be allocated to Ethiopia.

READ: Government to outline plans for Cape drought

The funds were expected to assist the more than two-million people in need of food, water and medical supplies.

"This health centre shows exactly why UK Aid is making a difference here in Ethiopia,” said UK Development Secretary Priti Patel about aid in that country.

“It is both saving lives and changing lives.

READ: Ethiopia extends state of emergency by four months

"We are seeing the continuity of care here from babies that are being immunised, to pregnant mothers in particular who are having a top-up in terms of malnutrition, but also kids that come here who are so undernourished, who are simply malnourished because of the drought and the famine that is taking place."

Ethiopia was prone to droughts, and the lack of rains in the country's highlands forced 10.2 million people to seek food assistance last year.

Last month, the United Nations warned that Somalia, hit by drought and on the verge of famine, would count 1.4 million acutely malnourished children by the end of the year, up 50 percent from late 2016.

It said this year's drought in East Africa could lead to 17 million people going hungry across the region.

Additional reporting AFP

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