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Jill Biden sees East Africa drought up close, seeks more aid

Jill Biden sees East Africa drought up close, seeks more aid
US first Lady Jill Biden, left, greets women of the Maasai community as they explain ...   -  
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Brian Inganga/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


US First Lady Jill Biden called on wealthy nations to give more to countries in the Horn of Africa, which is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, during a visit Sunday to affected communities in Kenya.

The US has funded most of the aid to deal with the climate disaster, which has led to the death of millions of livestock and destroyed crops.

"We can't be alone. We need other countries to join us in this global effort to help people in the region," Biden said at an aid distribution point in Kajiado, south of Nairobi.

"Unfortunately, you know there's the war in Ukraine. There's the earthquake in Turkey. I mean there are a lot of conflicting interests, but obviously here... people are starving," she said.

First lady Joe Biden, who earlier this week visited Namibia, listened to parents struggling to feed their children and communities unable to get water.

Drought was one of the main themes of Ms Biden's visit to Africa, along with food security and agriculture.

The Horn of Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, with crises becoming more frequent and intense.

According to the Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) of Igad, a grouping of East African countries, current conditions are worse than before the 2011 drought, which led to famine and the death of thousands of people.

According to Igad and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 23 million people are already "acutely food insecure" in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Biden's visit to Namibia and then to Kenya is a follow-up to the US-Africa summit held in Washington in late 2022.

Africa has become a diplomatic battleground after Russia's offensive in Ukraine last year. Biden's visit was the first by a senior White House official to the continent since her husband took office in January 2021.

In Namibia, Biden said the US is committed to helping African nations have a stronger voice at the UN and other international bodies.

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