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Govt commits another €500K for crisis in Horn of Africa

Last update - Monday, August 15, 2011, 19:37 By Metro Éireann

The Government last week announced an additional €500,000 in funding to provide vital water supplies to drought-stricken communities in northern Kenya.

This brings Ireland’s total contribution to the food crisis to €7.7m.
Minister of State for Trade and Development Jan O’Sullivan made the announcement following a detailed briefing by the Government Technical Team which has returned from the Horn of Africa.
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 that “the crisis in the Horn of Africa is worsening every day”.
She added: “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.”
The minister also referred to UN estimates that 3.2 million people are also at risk in Kenya, which is hosting over 450,000 refugees from Somalia at the Dadaab camp.
“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.
Minster O’Sullivan said Oxfam and Christian Aid “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.”
Concern and Trócaire have also drawn down an additional €400,000 in pre-approved Government funding from Irish Aid’s Emergency Response Fund to increase their emergency feeding programmes in southern Somalia.
In addition, 11 members of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps have been deployed to the Horn of Africa, with seven more due to deploy over the coming weeks.
“Ireland’s support is saving lives and the additional funding is being specifically targeted at the most vulnerable,” added the minister, who also expressed her gratitude to the four-member technical team for their work at short notice.

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