British aid reaches drought-stricken African region

Planes and trucks carrying crucial British-backed aid have arrived in some of the most drought-stricken regions in the Horn of Africa, Andrew Mitchell announced today.

Aid flights have landed in Mogadishu and Baidoa, with further flights expected in the coming days, and lorry convoys are reaching Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and the Dolo Ado camp in Ethiopia.

Thousands of people in refugee camps in Kenya have now received crucial basic supplies such as tents and cooking equipment as well as vital medical supplies and safe drinking water.

The efforts are part of a large-scale aid effort targeted at regions in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, with British aid – delivered by aid agencies on the ground – set to get emergency help to over two million people. Thousands more tonnes will arrive shortly.

But emerging figures show that a crucial UN appeal for international help in the region remains 60 per cent underfunded.

The International Development Secretary said that donors who have been slow to respond must wake up to the seriousness of the situation on the ground.

The UN appeal for $2.4 billion to help the 12 million people at risk in the Horn of Africa has raised $1 billion.

New information released today shows that with support from Britain and others:

* Food supplements have reached 24,096 malnourished pregnant and breastfeeding women in Kenya through UNICEF;

* 653 metric tons of Corn Soya Blend and 230 tons of food supplements being delivered to Somalia through UNICEF;

* Nutributter supplements are being supplied to 24,000 babies and toddlers aged from six months to two years in the Dadaab refugee camp through the World Food Programme;

* Latrines (one for every five houses) and water supplies are being constructed to improve sanitation and tackle the  potential spread of disease at the Dadaab refugee camp extension through Oxfam;

* Food has reached 162,000 people in Somalia, including in Bakool and Lower Shaballe;

* Clean water has been provided for 900,000 people in Ethiopia;

* Treatment for severe malnutrition has reached 3,400 children and treatment for moderate malnutrition has reached 16,000 women and children in Ethiopia; and,

* A team of British humanitarian experts are monitoring the situation on the ground and coordinating action with the country governments, the UN and other donors.