Ethiopia: O'Donnell Announces New Aid Allocation Following Visit to Famine Region
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Liz O'Donnell TD, has announced a further allocation of IR£1 million towards emergency humanitarian aid in Ethiopia. Minister O'Donnell made the announcement after visiting Concern's feeding centre for severely under-nourished children on its first day of operation today in the Ethiopian region of Wollita.
"The new allocation will come from non-essential long-term development projects which we fund as part of the Irish Aid programme for Ethiopia. We will provide additional emergency funds as the needs arise", Minister O'Donnell added.
She said great credit was due to Concern for the establishment of the new feeding centre in Wollita which would serve a population of 200,000. The Government already funds a similar project in the South Wollo region.
"While is was heartbreaking today to witness children in such a condition of severe malnourishment, it was uplifting to know that their nutritional needs are being met from today. A survey done by Concern shows that over 8,000 children under five in this area need help now. The new Concern centre will fill the gap until such time as the Ethiopian Government and the World Food Programme provide the aid which is needed urgently in this locality", she added.
The Minister said she was very impressed by the effectiveness of the aid agencies such as Goal and Concern but less so by the bigger EU and UN agencies.
"The reality is that only 28% of the food aid pledged internationally has arrived in Ethiopia and an even smaller proportion of that is available for immediate distribution. This is creating an acute and quite shocking deficiency in the overall humanitarian effort. I'll be raising my concerns about this ineffectiveness when I meet the Director of the World Food Programme in Addis Ababa tomorrow", she added.
The Minister will meet the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, in Addis Ababa tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss the crisis.
Since the beginning of the current crisis in Ethiopia, the Irish Government has allocated IR£2.9 million to emergency needs there.
"Recognising that the fundamental cause of this latest crisis is chronic poverty and under-development, we remain of course committed to funding long-term development projects in Ethiopia. But there is flexibility to re-direct resources to respond to the critical and life-saving projects being undertaken right now by agencies such as Goal and Concern", she said. Top