O'Donnell to Assess Famine Relief Efforts in Ethiopia
The Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Liz O'Donnell T.D., will visit Ethiopia from Tuesday 2 May to Sunday 7 May 2000 for urgent consultations on the humanitarian situation there. The Minister of State will discuss the critical logistical situation with Government representatives, including the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Mr. Girma Biru, and the Acting World Food Programme Director, Mr. Benedict Fultang. "Logistics are extremely important for food availablility", she said today. "We urgently need to resolve the key transport constraints and prioritise the needs of the starving population".
The Minister will also meet the Secretary-General of the Organisation for African Unity (O.A.U.), Mr. Ahmed Salim, for a briefing on the ongoing efforts to resolve the Ethiopian-Eritrean war. During the visit she will travel to supplementary feeding stations run by Irish NGOs and assess long term food security programmes funded by Ireland Aid, the Government's Official Aid Programme.
Note for Editors
Ethiopia is one of six priority countries for Ireland Aid, the Government's Official Aid Programme. This year Ireland Aid has budgeted IR£16 million for long term development projects in Ethiopia many of which are focussed on food security. IR£1 million of this amount was recently re-allocated to emergency food projects in response to the famine there. The Government has committed a further IR£ 859,000 in humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia since last December when it became apparent that famine was imminent.