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Pope urges 'concrete aid' for African famine victims
by Staff Writers
Vatican City (AFP) Oct 5, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday urged the international community to offer concrete aid for the drought and famine-struck Horn of Africa region, where more than 13 million need aid.

"I renew my pressing appeal to the international community to follow up its commitment to these people and I invite everybody to offer prayers and concrete aid to the brothers and sisters who are being greatly tested," he said.

Countries in the Horn region -- mainly Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya -- "are facing one of the worst droughts in more than half a century, causing mounting malnutrition, food insecurity, and displacement of people," the World Bank said recently.

The UN estimates more than 13 million are living rough since July and need assistance.

The pontiff highlighted that "children are dying every day from illness and due to lack of food and water," and said the Holy See would organise a series of meetings to give "an extra push" to efforts by the church and charitable bodies to provide relief to victims.

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Second Pacific island declares drought emergency
Wellington (AFP) Oct 4, 2011
A second South Pacific community has declared a state of emergency in a drought crisis that has seen water rationing imposed in parts of the region, officials in Wellington said Tuesday. Tokelau, a New Zealand-administered territory of about 1,400 people, has less than a week's drinking water after a long drought blamed on a La Nina weather pattern, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said. ... read more

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