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FEWS Network Warns Of ‘Significantly Below Average’ Rainfall During Horn Of Africa Growing Season

“Rain may be ‘significantly’ below average in the Horn of Africa’s main growing season, potentially threatening a region still recovering from famine in 2011, the Famine Early Warning Systems [FEWS] network reported” in a statement (.pdf) on its website on Tuesday, Bloomberg writes. “Rain from March through May in the region, which includes Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, is expected to begin late and amount to only 60 percent to 85 percent of average, the U.S.-funded provider of food-security warnings” said in the statement, according to Bloomberg (Ruitenberg, 4/4). “The report warned of ‘significant impacts on crop production, pasture regeneration, and the replenishment of water resources’ in a region that in 2011 suffered one of its worst drought-related food crises in decades,” IRIN reports (4/5).

“International donors have pledged to spend $3.9 billion on programs like crop resiliency over the next five years,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said in an interview on Wednesday, the Associated Press/Bloomberg Businessweek writes (Odula, 4/5). “UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake has called for an urgent escalation in humanitarian efforts in the Sahel,” the organization writes in an article on its website, adding, “Lake is visiting western Chad to spearhead a global UNICEF campaign to raise $120 million to treat and feed the region’s children, who are at risk of death from severe acute malnutrition” (Niles, 4/4). “The United States remains committed to breaking the cycle of hunger and famine in the Horn of Africa and to this end will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and call on others to join it in supporting the U.N.’s $1.5 billion 2012 Consolidated Appeal for Somalia …, currently funded at only $179 million,” a U.S. Department of State media note states (4/5).