NEW YORK: Qatar has pledged $12 million in humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa, where millions of people face starvation due to drought, food insecurity and malnutrition.

The pledge was made on Wednesday during a speech delivered by Assistant Foreign Minister for Regional Affairs Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulaziz bin Saleh Al-Khulaifi at the High Level Side Event: Responding to the Urgent Humanitarian Needs in the Horn of Africa, Qatar News Agency reported.

Qatar, Italy, the US and the UK hosted the event on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, in collaboration with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Al-Khulaifi said the situation in the Horn of Africa required the international community’s continuous commitment, and urgent measures to reach those in desperate need of aid, reduce risks and strengthen the population’s resilience.

The UN event was an important opportunity for nations to reaffirm their unwavering support for Horn of Africa countries as they struggle to meet their basic needs, he added.

Al-Khulaifi said Qatar was eager to work with the international community to address humanitarian challenges, and that humanitarian and development assistance was a top priority for Qatar.

He also expressed his nation’s pride in its support for the UN through programs such as the Qatar Fund for Development and its partners’ pledge, made last year, to finance sustainable development and humanitarian relief, which has transformed the lives of people in 47 countries.

Furthermore, the QFFD, in collaboration with Qatar Red Crescent, has begun a two-year program to support the health, water, sanitation and hygiene sectors in Somalia.

Al-Khulaifi added that the QFFD was financing and implementing many development projects in Somalia, including infrastructure, education and economic empowerment, in collaboration with Qatari institutions.

He also expressed Qatar’s pride in hosting the second part of the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries, which will run from March 5-9 next year.

The conference was a critical opportunity to effect transformational change in the lives of those living in vulnerable countries, he said.

According to the assistant minister, solidarity and multilateral action are more important than ever, and Qatar will remain committed to harmonious humanitarian work, with a priority to continue its significant contribution to alleviating human suffering.