MINISTER of State for overseas aid Jan O’Sullivan has approved a further €500,000 for the millions suffering from drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.
The Limerick TD made the announcement on Sunday having been briefed by government officials on their return from a five-day visit to the stricken region. It brings to €7.7 million the amount Ireland has spent on the aid effort to date.
“The crisis in Horn of Africa is worsening every day,” said Minister O’Sullivan.
“Almost half of the population in Somalia are malnourished and one child in every three is suffering severe malnutrition. Thousands of people have already died of starvation and our assessment strongly suggests that the crisis in Somalia will worsen over the coming six months.
“While Somalia is worst-affected, the UN estimates that 3.2 million people are also at risk in Kenya, which is also hosting over 450,000 refugees from Somalia. The funding that I am announcing today will enable Oxfam and Christian Aid to scale up their efforts to provide safe, clean water and critical health services to families. They will focus particularly on nomadic farmers who have been severely-affected. Many thousands have lost their animals – and thus their livelihoods – to this severe drought.”
In addition to allowing NGOs truck water to some of the worst-affected areas of northern Kenya, the €500,000 will be used to bore new wells and provide basic healthcare.
Minister O’Sullivan also announced that Concern and Trócaire have this week drawn down an additional €400,000 in pre-approved Government funding for emergency feeding programmes in southern Somalia.