The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., today announced a further €1 million in support for victims of the Horn of Africa famine, bringing the Government’s total contribution so far this year to €10 million. The funding will be used by Concern, UNICEF and other agencies.
The Tánaiste made the announcement in advance of a special UN Ministerial Summit on the crisis which will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Saturday. The Tánaiste will attend the event along with other leaders and will outline Ireland’s short and medium term response to the drought in the region, including a further substantial pledge of assistance.
The Tánaiste will use Saturday’s meeting to call for greater international attention to the root causes of the famine in the Horn of Africa. Ireland’s development programmes in the region focus on improving agricultural productivity and helping people adapt to drought conditions.
“This additional €1 million from the Irish Aid budget will be used to provide emergency relief to famine victims in Ethiopia and Somalia,” the Tánaiste said. “We are particularly targeting children in an effort to protect them from the worst effects of this crisis and will work with UNICEF to provide emergency feeding, but also to establish respite centres in the refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya.”
The situation across the Horn of Africa continues to worsen, with over thirteen million people in drought-stricken areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda severely affected by the crisis. According to UN figures, the death toll is well in excess of 80,000, with hundreds of thousands more at risk from starvation and disease.
In addition to emergency funding, the Government has carried out two airlifts of emergency supplies to the region and has deployed 21 members of the Irish Aid Rapid Response Corps to humanitarian agencies working in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda.
23 September 2011