Ministers Ahern and Lenihan announce doubling of assistance to meet humanitarian needs in current Middle East Crisis
The Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, Conor Lenihan, T.D, today announced that the Government is to provide further funding of €1 million in relief assistance to address the mounting humanitarian needs as a result of the deteriorating situation in the crises in Lebanon and Gaza. This represents a doubling of funding in response to these humanitarian crises.
Speaking in Brussels, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister Dermot Ahern said “I am pleased that the European Union has today with one voice called for an immediate cessation of violence. I urge all sides to heed this call. It is essential that the political process at the United Nations be stepped up so as to achieve a political settlement which will allow for an international force to be deployed. At the same time, there are immediate and growing humanitarian needs which must be met.”
Minister of State Lenihan said “The difficulty of humanitarian access being experienced by aid agencies in Lebanon is shocking. Humanitarian aid should be available to affected populations at all times. I call on all sides to move immediately to facilitate humanitarian access and to heed the advice of the United Nations in this regard. Hundreds of thousands of people have already been displaced and many others are effectively trapped in their homes.
Minister Ahern added “The Government is assessing the humanitarian situation on an ongoing basis and we want to continue to facilitate the crucial work of our partner organisations on the ground. In particular, we are anxious to do whatever is possible to facilitate their humanitarian access and to ensure that protection of civilians including aid workers is paramount at all times. We will be in contact with humanitarian agencies, including our Irish partners, to identify how best to allocate this further funding.”
1 August 2006