The U.N. is hosting a mini-summit on drought and famine in the Horn of Africa
Three-quarters of a million people are "at imminent risk of starvation," said the U.N. chief
(CNN) -- The World Bank said that it is increasing funding to the war-wracked and drought-stricken Horn of Africa to $1.88 billion from more than $500 million, a generous gesture that coincides with a U.N. mini-summit on the devastated region.
"Countries in the Horn of Africa that are facing one of the worst droughts in more than half a century, causing mounting malnutrition, food insecurity, and displacement of people," the DC-based bank said in a statement on Saturday.
The announcement comes as the first week of U.N. debates wrapped up Saturday where delegates continued to outline their visions for peace and global security.
"In Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti, more than 13 million people need our help," said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon during the summit. "In Somalia, famine has spread through large areas of the south."
Ban said three-quarters of a million people are "at imminent risk of starvation" as a result of war, rising food costs and droughts that have continually plagued the region.
He added that $700 million in additional aid is needed this year, describing the Horn of Africa "as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world."
"Somalia will never be free of the threat of famine until it has peace and stability," said the U.N. chief. "We could save many more lives if we were given free access to areas under the control of Al-Shabaab."
The al Qaeda-linked group has been waging an insurgency against Somalia's transitional government since 2006.