Sunday, July 31, 2011

African Union Consults With Somalian TFG Government Over Drought

AU consults with Somalian gov't over drought

ADDIS ABABA, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Erastus Mwencha visited the Somali capital Mogadishu to assess humanitarian situation, the pan- African bloc said in a statement on Sunday.

Mwencha consulted with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia on possible ways of addressing the crisis, which is mainly resulted from the current drought, the African Union (AU) said.

During the visit, Mwencha saw for himself the humanitarian situation in Mogadishu and announced that the AUC is planning to hold a conference on Aug. 9 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to rally support for those affected by the drought.

The deputy chairperson said 500,000 U. S. dollars had been given by the AU to alleviate the famine.

At the 285th Meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, the famine was highlighted as a priority.

The statement said Jerry Rawlings, the AU high representative for Somalia, was called upon to lead efforts to highlight the crisis on the African continent to the world and advocate for more assistance from African nations.

He said, "This is not a time for second thoughts, or any hesitation. Not for more than twenty years has the continent faced such a catastrophe of food shortages that we are seeing today in the Horn of Africa. To build a prosperous and peaceful future on the continent we must come together to help our African brothers."

According to the statement, during his visit to the internally displaced persons (IDP) camp near the Mogadishu International Airport, Mwencha decried the terrible suffering of Somalis who have been displaced by food shortages and the lack of assistance because of the block by extremists.

The demand for emergency food aid in the areas under the Somali government control continues to considerably outstrip supply, the statement said.

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