Senior United Nations officials are calling on countries, businesses and individuals to give generously to support efforts to tackle the food security crisis gripping the Horn of Africa, warning that the world cannot “afford to lose momentum” in the fight against famine, disease and starvation.

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A United Nations-convened meeting on hunger in the Horn of Africa today called for a twin-pronged approach to tackle the food crisis, stressing immediate relief and the strengthening of the resilience of affected communities to enable them to cope with future shocks in the drought-prone region.

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This is a children’s famine.  The magnitude of suffering and loss is tremendous.  The haunting images we have seen from the Horn of Africa and the facts of this emergency speak for themselves.

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Women, Children and Youth Affairs Ministry (WCYAM) said it is striving to ensure the right and welfare of children.

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Kokobe Abate is a widow struggling to raise her daughter Almaz in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The death of her husband hit the family hard, but he had given up on life long before he died.

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"I wanted to get an education but my parents were determined to marry me off," says Himanot Yehewala, an Ethiopian girl who was married five years ago at the age of 13.

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Visiting health workers in Ethiopia today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spotlighted the progress made in improving the health of women and children, while also stressing the need to do more to avoid needless deaths.

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Maternal health will be the focus over the next week when Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon begins a four-nation trip that will take the United Nations chief to Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ethiopia and France, his spokesperson said today.

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For millions of Ethiopian children, it's the most cherished moment of their day: a wide-eyed, smiling giraffe hops in front of them, crooning funny songs in a language they can understand.

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Ethiopia is cutting back by as much as 90 percent the number of inter-country adoptions it will allow, as part of an effort to clean up a system rife with fraud and corruption. Adoption agencies and children’s advocates are concerned the cutbacks will leave many Ethiopian orphans without the last-resort option of an adoptive home abroad.

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