India pledges $8 mn to famine-stricken Horn of Africa

September 14th, 2011 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) With a crippling famine ravaging the Horn of Africa, India Wednesday pledged $8 million to Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti and said it was considering assistance to Somalia for developing a counter-piracy strategy.

“India will provide humanitarian assistance of US$ 8 million to the countries afflicted with severe famine and drought in the Horn of Africa i.e. Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti,” the external affairs ministry said here.

The assistance will be provided through the World Food Programme.

With piracy becoming a regional problem and also threatening India’s interests, India plans to help Somalia in countering the scourge.

“India would be cooperating with Somalia in capacity building in areas such as fisheries, IT and agriculture,” the ministry said while stressing that piracy is an issue of considerable concern for India.

“India is also considering extending technical assistance to Somalia in developing a counter-piracy policy and strategy,” it said.

India has contributed $1.5 million to the AU Trust Fund on Somalia and $0.5 million to the UN Trust Fund. This was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for augmenting the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) at the second India-Africa Forum Summit-in Addis Ababa in May.

Millions of people in the Horn of Africa reellng under a crippling regional drought and tens of thousands have died during the famine. This has driven thousands of the hungry to refugee camps in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

The UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator has said the world body’s humanitarian effort in the Horn of Africa still needs nearly $1 billion, out of a total a total of $2 billion, to meet immediate needs.

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