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Irish Government emergency airlift arrives in Somalia

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Africa, 2011

A Government airlift of emergency humanitarian supplies will arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, in the early hours of tomorrow morning, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD, has announced.

The 38 metric tonnes of emergency water and shelter materials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s humanitarian depot in Dubai will be distributed by Concern to thousands of refugees in the famine-struck country.

The Government, through Irish Aid, is also funding emergency feeding programmes run by Concern, Trócaire, and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Somalia.

To date, the Government has provided almost €7 million in its response to the humanitarian crisis. In addition, 11 members of the Rapid Response Corps have been deployed to the region.

“The lives of many thousands of people in Somalia and the Horn of Africa will be saved as a direct result of this operation,” the Tánaiste said.

“Irish Aid is working with Concern to provide emergency shelter for the displaced and with Concern, Trócaire and the Red Cross to reach thousands in danger of starvation. We are particularly focused on children as it is they who are suffering most. These emergency feeding programmes funded by Ireland are already saving hundreds of lives each day.”

Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan TD, said a technical team from Irish Aid, which includes members of the Emergency Civilian Assistance Team, supervised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was in the region assessing how Irish funding could be most effectively used in the relief operation.

The team will meet agencies responding to the crisis, including at the Dadaab refugee camp close to the border with Somalia, before reporting back to the Tánaiste and Minister of State O’Sullivan.

“The Government wants to ensure that the Irish contribution to the relief operation is as effective as possible and the technical team will make recommendations as to how we can maximise the impact of Irish Aid funding,” Minister of State O’Sullivan said.

“The Government needs to be sure we reach as many of the starving and displaced as we possibly can. Given the scale of the crisis a focused and concerted global effort is essential.”