Government increases Africa aid

 

The Government has pledged an additional €500,000 in aid for people struggling with drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.

The funding will provide water supplies to communities in northern Kenya after a detailed briefing by the Government’s technical team who visited the drought-stricken region.

Minister of State for Development Jan O’Sullivan said the funding will be used by Oxfam and Christian Aid to transport water to some of the worst-affected areas, build new boreholes and provide basic healthcare to families in crisis. 

Ms O’Sullivan said Ireland’s support is saving lives and targeting the most vulnerable. “The crisis in Horn of Africa is worsening every day,” she said.

“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 will enable Oxfam and Christian Aid to scale up their efforts to provide safe, clean water and critical health services to families.”

The Government, through Irish Aid, has pledged €7.7 million to the crisis to date, with another €7 million raised in public donations to NGOs.

Eleven 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.

The four-member technical team spent five days in the region assessing how Ireland can continue to best respond to the emergency.

Ms O’Sullivan added: “The team outlined the need for additional funding, supplies and specialised humanitarian personnel.”