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Government announces arrival of second emergency airlift for Horn of Africa

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Africa, 2011

The Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan T.D., has announced a second emergency airlift of humanitarian supplies by the Government to the Horn of Africa.

The shipment of 1,000 tents has arrived in Kenya and is being transported today to the Dadaab Refugee Camps in the north of the country, where up to 1,500 Somali refugees are arriving daily.  Minister O’Sullivan said the tents would provide vital shelter to 1,000 families in crisis.

“Kenya now hosts more than half a million refugees, the majority of whom live in the overcrowded Dadaab camps. With approximately 1,500 refugees arriving each day, providing shelter is a priority. Many families have walked for days through hostile terrain to reach Dadaab – often without food or shelter – and are in an extremely vulnerable position.

The family-sized tents that we are providing from pre-positioned stocks in Dubai will provide shelter and security to up to 5,000 people. Ireland is responding quickly and generously to an appeal by the UNHCR – the UN’s refugee agency - for 10,000 additional tents.”

This is the second emergency airlift authorised by the Government and brings the total funding allocated by Irish Aid to the Horn of Africa crisis since the start of 2011 to €8.2 million.

In addition, 13 members of the Rapid Response Corps have been deployed to the region since the start of the year, with a further eight members due to take up positions there in the coming weeks.

Minister O’Sullivan authorised the shipment after a detailed briefing by an Irish Aid Technical Team, which spent five days in the Horn of Africa assessing how Ireland can best respond to the worsening emergency.

“With more than 400,000 people settled in a camp that was originally intended for 90,000, Dadaab Refugee Camp will remain a high priority for the international community over the coming months. In addition, the UN expects that many thousands more arrivals are likely to seek shelter there between now and December.  

“The funding and supplies that we have already provided are saving thousands of lives. Ireland is committed to continuing to support the desperately vulnerable population in the Horn of Africa.”