Minister of State ConorLenihan announces an extra €1 million for Niger and the Sahel region
Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today announced a further €1 million in assistance to Niger and neighbouring countries.
This brings to €3 million the amount allocated for the region since mid-July.
Minister Lenihan made the announcement following receipt of a report on the situation in Niger from Mr. David Andrews, Chairman of the Irish Red Cross and former Minister for Foreign Affairs, who has recently completed a fact-finding visit to the country.
“The situation in Niger remains very worrying. For example, there are an estimated 192,000 children suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition.
However, we have seen positive developments in the last ten days, with increased funding coming in and food deliveries taking place on the ground.
I understand that coordination between Government, UN agencies and NGOs on the ground is also improving. I would like to commend the work of the UN on the ground and of Irish and international NGOs, including Concern, Goal, Plan International, Trócaire and Medecins Sans Frontieres.
We must continue to support efforts to get through the current difficulties, in particular up to the October harvest, and to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis.
It is important to bear in mind that these shortages are not limited to Niger, but are impacting across the Sahel region, including in Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania.
In that light, I am making available a further €1 million which will be for use by those working in Niger and across the region.
The UN have scaled up their appeal and we have scaled up our response.
David Andrew's report is very welcome and useful. It paints a bleak but accurate picture of the situation. His report also looks beyond the current situation to lessons that might be learned for the future and I will be studying carefully his recommendations in this regard.
As part of efforts to reform the international humanitarian system, Ireland has been taking a lead role in looking at how the existing UN Central Emergency Revolving Fund can be revised. These discussions will continue in September.”
10 August 2005
Note for Editors
On 20 July, Minister of State Lenihan announced €1 million in funding for Niger. Of this €500,000 has been allocated to Concern and €480,000 to Goal, for their work on the ground.
On 2 August, the Minister for Agriculture, Ms. Mary Coughlan T.D., announced €1 million for the World Food Programme.
The money announced today is to be used in Niger and surrounding countries. Initial allocations will be made to Trócaire (€400,000) and Plan Ireland (€168,000).
To date in 2005, Ireland has provided over €12 million in emergency support to UN agency partners for activities from the tsunami affected region to critical, ongoing humanitarian crises in Africa. In addition, funding support of some €20 million has been provided to date in 2005 to Non-Governmental Organisation partners to support their emergency programme activities across a number of the most urgent humanitarian situations including Darfur in Western Sudan and the evolving Southern Africa food emergency.