Minister of State O'Donnell announces €4.74m Government aid package
The Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Overseas Development Assistance & Human Rights, Liz O'Donnell, today announced Government humanitarian assistance of €4.74 m in response to a number of ongoing or forgotten emergencies, including the deepening food crisis in Malawi and neighbouring countries.
In announcing the Malawi component of today's package the Minister of State said,
“The Government and Irish NGOs are deeply concerned about the looming food crisis which has already hit Malawi and threatens several other countries of Southern Africa. At the outset of the crisis Ireland Aid supported the World Food Programme response in Malawi. We are now extending our commitment to cover the ongoing work of our NGO partners in that country and the timely regional response of the International Federation of the Red Cross which is also assisting those at risk in Zambia and Zimbabwe. These programmes are targeting those most in need at this time”
Minister O'Donnell added,
“I commend the role of Irish NGOs in bringing this crisis to public attention - we will follow these first steps with further support as the situation unfolds. We have been highlighting the crisis at international level and are continuing to pursue it with our EU partners who are also responding with aid.”
Today's allocation of €0.9 million to Malawi brings the Ireland Aid response to the Southern Africa food crisis to €1.2 million so far this year.Southern Africa is a core region of engagement for the Ireland Aid programme which is seeking to assist its people in their struggle to cope with an array of challenges including drought, flooding and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The continued vulnerability of Malawi and other African countries is reflected in the fact that just over €3.5 million of today's €4.74m package is directed to Africa.
Minister O'Donnell also announced a grant of €270,000 to the UN Development Programme to help strengthen the efforts of the Afghan civil authorities to preserve public order and security through training. This is intended to help secure the safe delivery of aid and peaceful national transition for the benefit of the Afghan people. It brings Ireland's official assistance to Afghanistan and its refugees during 2002 to a total of €7.5 million.
Ireland Aid's continued commitment to Central America is also reflected in the announcement of a €300,000 grant to help provide emergency food assistance to malnourished children in Guatemala through the WFP. Guatemala is a low-income, food deficit country with 80% of its inhabitants below the poverty line. It is also trying to recover from drought with malnutrition the third leading cause of death in the country. A further €411,000 is being provided in support of Trócaire and Concern emergency preparedness and recovery projects in Honduras.
Note for Editors
Other African countries covered by today's announcement are: Sierra Leone (€390,000 between IOM Emergency Shelter and Trócaire school reconstruction); Somalia (€425,000 in support of two Trócaire projects and €285,000 in support of World Vision); Sudan (€275,000 for a GOAL primary healthcare project and €245,000 for a health and food security project run by Tearfund) Burundi (€300,000 in WFP food assistance); Eritrea (€369,500 for mine clearance by Halo Trust) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (€300,000 in UNICEF emergency health care).
As part of Ireland Aid's ongoing support for standard-setting and best practice in humanitarian aid, funding is being provided for ongoing research and expert analysis by the International Crisis Group in Central Africa and Central Asia, respectively, and for the internationally recognised work of the Humanitarian Practice Network. Funding of €26,000 is being provided for a best practice review by the Overseas Development Institute of Post-Conflict Housing Reconstruction which will inform the work of the aid community when published.