Minister of State Lenihan receives Irish Red Cross Report on Horn of Africa Drought Crisis
Mr. Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, met today with former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. David Andrews, who has returned from the drought-stricken region in the Horn of Africa. Mr. Andrews traveled to the region in his capacity as Chairman of the Irish Red Cross. Today Mr. Andrews presented the report of his visit, which highlights the deteriorating situation in the region, to the Minister of State.
Minister Lenihan has made early funding of €7 million available in response to the serious drought crisis affecting Kenya, Ethiopia and other countries in the Horn of Africa.
The Minister said:
“Ireland has responded promptly to the deteriorating situation in the Horn of Africa. I have made emergency humanitarian funding of €7 million available to agencies working in the Horn of Africa at both regional and national levels. €1.3 million of this funding has been provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Swift assistance from the international community remains a priority and Ireland is playing its part.
“The funding is being used to help provide much-needed water and emergency food relief to the affected populations across the region.
“The UN is also doing its part. US$30 million has been released from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) which has just recently been established. Ireland played a key role in the campaign to adapt the CERF to enable the UN to respond to crises like the one we are seeing evolve in the Horn of Africa. Ireland is contributing €10 million to the reformed fund.
“However, the needs in the Horn of Africa remain great and I would make a renewed appeal to our partner countries and major donors to continue to provide life saving funding support to meet these urgent needs. Ireland will continue to monitor closely what is clearly a very grave situation and will respond to emerging needs in the region.
“David Andrews traveled to the affected region in his role as chairman of the Irish Red Cross. He undertook a similar mission to Niger last year. I am grateful that he has reported back to me following his visit. His assessment of the situation will further highlight the needs in the region, deepen our understanding of the problems and help attract further attention to the emergency.”
Estimates now put at eleven million the number of people directly affected by the current drought across five countries of the Horn of Africa region. Two years of successive failed rains have precipitated this crisis in the vulnerable area that converges in southern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and central and southern Somalia. Parts of Eritrea, Burundi and Tanzania are affected by the same phenomenon. Pastoral communities are hit particularly hard by the failed rains, as the death of their livestock leaves them with nothing to exchange for survival.
Ireland has made funding of €7 million available in response to the crisis, €6 million of which has been fully allocated. Of this, over €2 million has been provided to the UN World Food Programme and to the Irish NGOs Concern and Trócaire for emergency programmes specifically in Kenya, while €200,000 has been provided to Christian Aid Ireland for drought relief specifically in Ethiopia. Funding of €1.3 million has been provided to the Red Cross movement (€500,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross for its country-based regional response and €800,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross for its work in Somalia). Senior officials from both the IFRC and the ICRC expressed their appreciation for this assistance during the Irish Red Cross mission.
The Irish Red Cross (IRC) monitoring and assessment mission to Kenya and Ethiopia took place from 18 to 30 April 2006. Mr. David Andrews, Chairman of the IRC, visited Kenya personally during this mission and was briefed by Mr. Noel Wardick of the Irish Red Cross on the Ethiopian element of the mission. Mr. Andrews met with Minister Lenihan prior to his departure on the mission and undertook to report back on the findings of the mission on his return.
4th May 2006