Ireland Provides Life-Saving Assistance in Syria, Iraq and Sub-Saharan Africa Crisis Situations
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., and the Minister of State for Development, Trade and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock T.D., today announced additional emergency funding of €3.725 million to support global humanitarian action by the UN and Irish NGO partners. The funding is in response to the unprecedented scale of humanitarian crises globally and includes support for the UN’s response to the refugee crises in Syria and Iraq.
Announcing the funding, Minister Flanagan said:
“The violence and chaos in Iraq and Syria have led to immeasurable suffering. Ireland has responded generously to the humanitarian crisis caused by the harrowing conflicts in Syria and Iraq and today I am announcing significant additional funds to assist the UN’s life-saving efforts inside Syria and Iraq.
“The €1m million for northern Syria will used to target aid for civilians in hard-to-reach areas. The €1 million in funding for Iraq is likely to be used to fund medical facilities struggling to cope with the upheaval of the last year. Violence in Iraq has displaced over three million people from their homes over the same period and the country has also suffered a cholera outbreak in recent days.
“This funding takes our support to Syria to over €10 million this year, bringing us close to fulfilling our pledge to provide €12 million in 2015 to support those affected by the crisis there. I fully intend to meet this pledge by the end of this year, thereby bringing Ireland’s total support to Syria to over €41 million since the crisis began in 2012.”
“A member of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps was deployed on Monday to work in Macedonia and Serbia supporting UNHCR in the provision of water and sanitation services for refugees. I am proud of the life-saving work which Ireland’s rapid responders do on the ground, at short notice, in very challenging and difficult environments.”
Minister of State Sherlock commented:
“This funding underlines Ireland’s continued commitment to relieve the suffering of those affected by the Syria crisis, but also to those caught up in less-visible crises unfolding in sub-Saharan Africa, where people continue to suffer hunger on a daily basis. Ireland remains focused on the most acute emergency situations and particularly those that are often otherwise forgotten and underfunded.”
“Today we are announcing an additional €1.225 million in funding for eight Irish NGO partners through Irish Aid’s 2015 Emergency Response Fund Scheme. These funds will support the NGOs’ work in helping to ensure a timely and effective humanitarian response to the current refugee crisis and the worsening food insecurity situation in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel."
We are also providing €500,000 in additional support to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as it responds to the global surge in humanitarian needs. These extra funds will support the work of the OCHA in ensuring aid is directed efficiently to where it is most needed and bring Ireland’s total support to OCHA in 2015 to €2.5 million
Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The Syria crisis is the largest humanitarian emergency in the world. Over 4 million people have fled Syria, but within the country 7.6 million people have been displaced, and 4.8 million people are trapped in hard to reach locations. The most urgent humanitarian needs in Syria are protection, health care, shelter, food, and water and sanitation. Ireland will provide €1 million to the UN’s “Turkey Humanitarian Pooled Fund”. This fund supports cross border operations into northern Syria, with priority given to Syrian NGOs who are better able to reach those in insecure areas.
Between June 2014 and September 2015, over 3 million people had fled their homes in Iraq, as ISIS took over swathes of the country, including the major city of Mosul. Iraq was already hosting 249,000 refugees from Syria. Ireland is providing €1 million to the UN’s Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund, which was established in June 2015. The IHPF has indicated that support to health services is among its chief priorities for the remainder of 2015, since many frontline health facilities have been forced to close earlier this year due to funding shortfalls.
UN humanitarian pooled funds have been established in 18 countries, and provide NGOs and UN agencies with rapid and flexible funding, and address critical gaps in humanitarian emergencies. Funding is allocated in-country, by those with the best information as to where the greatest needs are, and which organisations are best placed to respond.
The role of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is critical to ensuring that humanitarian funding is spent efficiently and without duplication, and targets those in greatest need. The size of its task has greatly increased with the mega-crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan, just as it has had to establish new field presences in previously-stable regions such as Ukraine, Libya and northern Nigeria.
Launched in 2007, Ireland’s Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS) pre-positions emergency funding with eight key Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) partners for use in sudden onset emergencies. This has allowed for immediate humanitarian responses to crises such as those in Haiti and Pakistan in 2010, the Horn of Africa in 2011, Sudan and Mali in in 2012, Philippine’s Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and the initial response to the Ebola crisis in 2014.
In January 2015, total funding of €2.45m was allocated for ERFS purposes. Due to the large number of crises that occurred in the first half of the year, including the Nepal earthquake, conflict in Yemen and flooding in Myanmar and Afghanistan, it was decided that an additional allocation would be made to the Scheme for the remainder of 2015.
Ireland’s eight trusted NGO partners in ERFS activities are Concern, GOAL, Trócaire, Plan International Ireland, World Vision Ireland, Christian Aid Ireland, Oxfam Ireland and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
As part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid manages the Rapid Response Corps, a roster of highly skilled individuals who are willing to deploy at short notice to work as surge capacity with Ireland’s UN partners as part of their emergency response efforts.
Since September 2007, Irish Aid has deployed 271 Rapid Response Corps roster members to 45 countries, with the majority deploying to Jordan, Lebanon, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Haiti, and the Philippines in response to severe crises in these countries. 20 rapid responders have been deployed to date in 2015.
In summary today’s announcement comprises: