Ireland steps up its humanitarian response to looming famine in Somalia
Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Charlie Flanagan and Minister of State for International Development, Joe McHugh announced that Ireland has today dispatched over 100 tonnes of humanitarian relief supplies to Somalia.
Announcing the airlift, Minister Flanagan said:
In Somalia today there are worrying similarities to the conditions that led to the worst famine of the 21st century when, in 2011, three-quarters of a million Somali people faced famine and more than a quarter million lives were lost. A massive and urgent scale up of assistance by the international community is required to avoid a similar catastrophe this year. Acting now will save lives.
Today Ireland will dispatch an airlift, worth over €600,000, from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai, where Irish Aid pre-positions relief supplies for use in emergencies and humanitarian crises under Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative.
Last month, Ireland also announced new funding of €11 million to humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa region, €3 million of which was contributed to the UN-managed Somalia Humanitarian Fund to help our partners to provide life-saving assistance to those most in need and at risk of famine in the country.
Minister McHugh added:
If the forthcoming rainy season from April to June is as poor as is currently forecast, this hunger crisis will worsen and further displacement will occur. The situation for children is especially grave with over 360,000 Somali children under the age of five now acutely malnourished.
Urgent action is required to provide emergency shelter and basic services for families that have been forced to move. Ireland is responding quickly through one of our trusted NGO partners. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.