FUNDING PACKAGE FOR "FORGOTTEN EMERGENCIES - MINISTER O'DONNELL APPROVES £2.7 MILLION
Ms. Liz O'Donnell TD, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for Overseas Development Assistance, today announced grants totaling £2.7 million to meet emergency and reconstruction needs around the world. In particular, the focus is on responding to what the UN has called the "forgotten emergencies" such as Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"The grants announced today are part of our ongoing strategy to respond to those emergencies which receive comparatively little media attention. In many troubled parts of the world people feel that the international community has forgotten them. Apart from the tangible impact of assistance to people in such emergencies, it is almost as important that our aid signals our continued concern." Minister O'Donnell said.
The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, launching World Humanitarian Day on Tuesday 23 November, highlighted the problems being faced by the UN in raising funds for less well publicised crises in the face of donor fatigue.
In announcing the grants today, the Minister referred to the examples of the long running emergencies in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"War has displaced more than 2.5 million people displaced in Afghanistan. With the onset of winter, the suffering of these people is further exacerbated as the need for adequate shelter and heating intensifies. Ireland Aid is providing emergency assistance to these displaced families. In addition a maternal health care programme will be funded to assist Afghan women who endure limited access to health care. Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world".
"The ceasefire in the Democratic Republic of Congo is under increasing pressure prompting fears of a further displacement of civilians. There are already over one million people displaced in DRC and it is also host to more than a quarter of a million refugees. The lives of many of these people have been repeatedly shattered during years of conflict and instability. Today's grants will provide emergency aid to those most in need."
Other aid programmes supported in the overall package include:
Burundi Emergency response and Water & sanitation programmes
Congo-Brazzaville Emergency assistance for displaced persons
Ethiopia Emergency assistance and relief food assistance
Rwanda Primary Health Care and Child-headed households programmes
Somalia Emergency food aid and Water & sanitation programmes
Tajikistan Emergency assistance for vulnerable groups
Bosnia Children's mental health and housing repair programmes
Central America Protracted relief and rehabilitation to agriculture