Monday, July 18, 2011

United Nations to Host Somalia Drought Crisis Meeting on July 25

UN to host Somalia drought crisis meeting on July 25

(AFP) --ROME — The UN food agency will host a crisis meeting on the escalating humanitarian crisis in drought-hit Somalia on July 25, a spokesman for the Rome-based organisation told AFP on Monday.

"The meeting will be next Monday (July) 25th here at FAO" following a request from France in its role as head of the G20 group of leading world economies, said Erwin Northoff, a spokesman for the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

"Mainly the emphasis is on the Horn of Africa. All the FAO member countries have been invited," he said, adding that although this would be officially a ministerial meeting, heads of state could also attend.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with his counterparts in Brussels, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said: "France has asked and obtained a meeting in Rome... to launch a special aid programme for Somalia."

"We have also asked for the EU to mobilise all of its means," Juppe said, adding that Paris was working on bilateral aid.

"The succession of bad agricultural seasons and particularly unfavourable weather conditions have dramatic consequences for millions of people in the region," the French government said in a letter to FAO.

On a visit in Johannesburg, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the drought was "the most catastrophic" in a generation.

The FAO, the World Food Programme and the international charity Oxfam launched an appeal 10 days ago for urgent and durable international, warning that 12 million people lacked food in the region and were in a critical state.

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