Government funding of €11m to fight latest famine in Africa

Charlie Flanagan flags ‘massive and urgent scale-up of humanitarian assistance’ needed

A severely malnourished child with her mother waits to be processed into a Unicef-funded programme for children displaced by drought at the regional hospital in Baidoa, Somalia. Photograph: Getty Images

A severely malnourished child with her mother waits to be processed into a Unicef-funded programme for children displaced by drought at the regional hospital in Baidoa, Somalia. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The Government has announced new funding of € 11 million to assist people suffering as a result of famine, drought and conflict in the Horn of Africa, specifically in South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan.

Making the announcement, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said he was “extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa. A massive and urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance in South Sudan and Somalia is required now to avoid a catastrophe. We must not wait until people are dying from hunger. We must act now. I am determined that Ireland will play its part by responding quickly to alleviate suffering and save lives.”

He noted how “last month, famine was declared in parts of South Sudan with 100,000 people at risk of starvation and death. Over a quarter of a million children are severely malnourished and at risk of dying from hunger and malnutrition. The situation is forecast to worsen in the coming months with five million people in need of food, almost one million of them on the brink of famine.”

Food insecurity

The situation was also serious in Somalia.

“A famine warning has been issued by the United Nations for Somalia with almost three million people facing crisis levels of food insecurity, more than double the number six months ago and 363,000 acutely malnourished children need urgent treatment and nutrition support,” said Mr Flanagan.

“In Sudan, three million people in are facing food insecurity at crisis levels, particularly in Darfur, and among displaced persons and refugees in the country.”

Ireland would “provide € 3 million to each of the UN humanitarian pooled funds in Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan,” he added.

Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Joe McHugh said a further €1 million will be provided to Unicef in South Sudan. Moreover, given the severity of the current situation for children there with a particular focus on treating acute malnutrition.