Government continues to provide much needed assistance to famine relief in Africa
Following on from the recent commitment of €2 million to famine relief in Ethiopia, the Minister of State with responsibility for Ireland Aid, Mr. Tom Kitt TD, today announced a Government emergency humanitarian package of over €5 million for a number of growing crises in Africa and Asia.
€1.6 million of this assistance has been earmarked to alleviate the famine situation developing in the Southern Africa region. In making the commitment the Minister said that;
“The growing food crisis is now devastating the lives of vulnerable communities across Southern Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe and Malawi. This Government funding is in addition to the €8 million we have already delivered to the people of Southern Africa already in 2002.”
Additional assistance of €1.5 million was allocated in equal measure to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) to develop their capacity to respond more effectively to emergency situations. Both these agencies provide vital humanitarian assistance, the ICRC in conflict situations and the IFRC in natural disaster relief.
The Red Cross organisation, because of its long history of genuine neutrality and impartiality,
is in a unique position among relief agencies to provide immediate support and protection in the most difficult situations. This marks a new more strategic approach, as directed by the Ireland Aid Review, for Ireland Aid to continue to improve its emergency relief partnerships in both conflict and natural disaster situations.
Similarly, Ireland Aid has deepened its partnership with the Irish NGO Concern, €450,000 was approved for the development of a new approach to malnutrition treatment in emergency situations. This applied research project is currently being piloted in Malawi and pending its success, it will be applied more generally in Ireland Aid's response to food needs in emergency situations.
Other funding announced today by Minister Kitt includes almost €1 million in emergency humanitarian assistance for conflict devastated communities in Central and Western Africa, €300,000 for an emergency relief intervention focussing on returnees in Afghanistan and €195,000 for a programme assisting mine victims in Cambodia.