Government announces additional €500,000 for Ireland’s emergency response to Horn of Africa crisis

Emergencies, Budget/funding, News/feature, Horn of Africa, 2011

Minister of State for Trade and Development Jan O’Sullivan today announced an additional €500,000 in funding to provide vital water supplies to drought-stricken communities in Northern Kenya. She made the announcement following a detailed briefing by the Government Technical Team which has returned from the Horn of Africa.

 This brings the total Government funding to the food crisis to €7.7 million.

 The additional €500,000 will be used by NGOs Oxfam and Christian Aid to truck water to some of the worst-affected areas of Northern Kenya, build new boreholes and provide basic healthcare to families in crisis.

 The Technical Team spent five days in the Horn of Africa assessing how Ireland can continue to best respond to the emergency. They have presented Minister O’Sullivan with a report on the scale of the humanitarian crisis and the needs of the population.

 Speaking after the briefing, Minister O’Sullivan said:

 “The crisis in Horn of Africa is worsening every day. Almost half of the population in Somalia are malnourished and one child in every three is suffering severe malnutrition.  Thousands of people have already died of starvation and our assessment strongly suggests that the crisis in Somalia will worsen over the coming six months.

 

“While Somalia is worst-affected, the UN estimates that 3.2 million people are also at risk in Kenya, which is also hosting over 450,000 refugees from Somalia. The funding that I am announcing today will enable Oxfam and Christian Aid to scale up their efforts to provide safe, clean water and critical health services to families. They will focus particularly on nomadic farmers who have been severely-affected. Many thousands have lost their animals – and thus their livelihoods – to this severe drought.”

 

Minister O’Sullivan also announced that Concern and Trócaire have this week drawn down an additional €400,000 in pre-approved Government funding to increase their emergency feeding programmes in Southern Somalia. The funding – from Irish Aid’s Emergency Response Fund – is reserved for severe emergencies and can be drawn on quickly to facilitate a speedy response.

 This brings the Government’s total funding to the Horn of Africa crisis to €7.7 million since the start of the year. In addition, 11 members of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps have been deployed to the Horn of Africa and an additional seven members are due to deploy over the coming weeks.

 “I am considering the Report of the Irish Technical Team in detail and will draw on their recommendations to inform the Government’s ongoing response to this crisis over the coming weeks. 

 “The team outlined the need for additional funding, supplies and specialised humanitarian personnel. Today’s announcement of an additional €500,000 will address some of the most pressing needs identified by the team, but the Government is committed to responding to the needs of thousands of families who are in a critical situation.  

 “Ireland’s support is saving lives and the additional funding is being specifically targeted at the most vulnerable.” Minister O’Sullivan said.  

 

 The Minister also expressed her gratitude to the four-member Technical Team for their invaluable work, at very short notice, over five days in the Horn of Africa and their detailed Report.

 Ends

7 August 2011

 

Note for Editors
Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas assistance. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

  • To date, the Government has provided €7.7 million to respond to the crisis. This funding has been provided to aid agencies – including Concern, Trócaire, Goal and Oxfam - and to the United Nations humanitarian agencies. Irish Aid also provided an emergency airlift of 38 tonnes of water and shelter supplies to Somalia.
  • The Technical Team deployed to the region included members of the Emergency Civilian Assistance Team (ECAT).  ECAT is a group of highly-trained diplomatic, development and security experts who are available to respond quickly to emergency situations involving Irish citizens abroad or international security crises. 
  • ECAT is operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and includes officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Gardai and the Defence Forces.
  • Irish Aid maintains the Rapid Response Corps, a register of highly-skilled individuals who are willing to be deployed at short notice to assist in an emergency relief effort.

For further information or to request an interview with Minister O’Sullivan, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 01-4082653 or 087-9099975.