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Tánaiste announces comprehensive relief package for Horn of Africa

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Africa, 2011

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., has announced a comprehensive package of support for the humanitarian relief effort in the Horn of Africa.  This brings the total Irish Aid funding for the relief effort to nearly €7 million. 

The Government will provide €1 million for emergency feeding in Somalia and neighbouring countries, as well as an airlift of emergency supplies from the Irish Aid stockpile in Dubai. The Tánaiste has also deployed a Technical Team to the region from the Department of Foreign Affairs. The team will report back to the Tánaiste on how Ireland can best contribute to the relief effort in the Horn of Africa.  The Tánaiste said:

“This is the most severe humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa for decades and tens of thousands of people have already starved to death.

I have authorised a further €1 million in funding for the relief effort and an airlift of emergency supplies for use by Concern in Somalia. I have also dispatched a team to the region to assess how Ireland can best contribute to the relief effort.  Ireland’s support is saving lives and the additional funding for emergency feeding will be specifically targeted at the most vulnerable.”

The funding will support emergency feeding operations in Somalia and the surrounding areas worst-affected by the crisis. Over the coming days, the International Committee of the Red Cross will increase its emergency feeding centres in Somalia by 10 to 31, deploying 13 mobile emergency teams to reach malnourished children before their condition becomes critical.

Irish Aid will also support emergency feeding programmes run by its NGO partners. The Government is already funding emergency operations run by Concern, Trócaire and World Vision, as well as the World Food Programme and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.  It has also sent 11 members of the Irish Aid Rapid Response Corps to assist humanitarian agencies responding to the crisis.

Minister of State for Trade and Development Jan O’Sullivan TD said the airlift of emergency supplies would help to improve the conditions for thousands of people displaced as a result of the famine.  Irish Aid officials have been working with Concern to identify stocks to be airlifted from the Government’s emergency stockpile in Dubai.   Blankets, mosquito nets and emergency water and shelter materials will be flown to the region during the course of the coming week.

The Technical Team will be made up of the Government’s Hunger Envoy Kevin Farrell, with officials from Irish Aid and support from the Emergency Civilian Assistance Team run by the Department of Foreign Affairs.  Kevin Farrell was appointed Ireland’s Special Envoy on Hunger in September 2008. In 2010 he prepared and presented a report on Ireland’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the Hunger Task Force.