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UN Gets $2.4 Billion in Horn Aid Pledges

FILE: FILE - Villagers gather during a visit by U.N. official Martin Griffiths, in the village of Lomoputh in northern Kenya on May 12, 2022. Humanitarian agencies called for the full $7 billion U.N. Horn of Africa to be funded, but that sum was not reached.

UNITED NATIONS HQ, NEW YORK - The United Nations received pledges of $2.4 billion on Wednesday to help fund aid operations for some 32 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, but the donations fell short of what the U.N. was seeking as it warned against a possible "catastrophe."

The United Nations appealed for more than $7 billion for the three countries, but prior to Wednesday's pledging conference that raised $2.4 billion, Somalia was just 25% funded, Ethiopia 22% and Kenya just 21%.

The United States made the top pledge - an additional $524 million, taking its total for fiscal 2023 to some $1.4 billion. The European Commission pledged $185 million, Germany $163 million, Britain $120 million and the Netherlands $92 million.

"This is a global problem that requires all of us," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the pledging event.

"We must adapt to the impacts of climate change and build more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems around the world. And we must support humanitarian workers and NGOs that dedicate their lives to saving lives," she said.

The United Nations describes the Horn of Africa as the epicenter of one of the world's worst climate emergencies, suffering both withering droughts and, in places, historic flooding.

"People in the Horn of Africa are paying an unconscionable price for a climate crisis they did nothing to cause," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the pledging event in New York on Wednesday.

"Crisis atop of crisis is threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions across the Horn of Africa: The longest drought on record. Mass displacement after years of conflict and insecurity. Skyrocketing food prices," he said.

Some 40,000 died during a drought in Somalia last year; half were children under the age of five, Guterres said the U.N. has reported.