Food Emergency Assistance to Ethiopia
Ms. Liz O'Donnell T.D., Minister of State for Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Development Cooperation, today announced a grant of £100,000 to the UN World Food Programme in response to their appeal for funds to address serious food shortages in Ethiopia.
The Minister stated:
"Consecutive poor harvests over the last couple of years have meant that Ethiopia is now facing severe food shortages. It is estimated that almost 8 million people will require some kind of emergency food aid over the next few months. The failure of this season's rains is serving to exacerbate the crisis.
"I am very concerned that food gets to those most in need as soon as possible. While the national food stocks are at their lowest since 1984, an early response to the situation on the part of the international community should prevent a possible famine, which threatens to be on the scale of that experienced in the mid-1980s.
"Ireland's ongoing official aid programme in Ethiopia (involving expenditure by Ireland of £16.184 million in 2000) has a strong focus on supporting long-term rural development programmes designed to reduce Ethiopia's vulnerability to food shortages." the Minister added.
Ireland Aid has been following the situation in Ethiopia closely and has already provided £259,000 in emergency funding in the last four months to WFP and the Irish NGO Concern for emergency feeding programmes. The grant announced today is in addition to this. The situation will continue to be monitored closely by Irish representatives on the ground.