Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello TD will address the Seanad on the humanitarian situation in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic today at 11.45 AM.
Minister Costello said:
“I am pleased to open this very timely debate on the grave situation in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. 2013 was a very challenging year for the international community with three ‘Level three emergencies’, the most serious humanitarian crisis designation of the United Nations, being declared.
Syria is one of the worst humanitarian disasters seen in recent years with over 120,000 people killed in the conflict so far and half the population of 22 million in need of humanitarian assistance. Syria’s neighbouring countries also need our assistance. I visited Lebanon last year and I was struck by the generosity of Syria’s neighbours who now host more than 2.3 million Syrian refugees.
“Dealing with so many humanitarian crises simultaneously puts a remarkable strain on the international community which is now far better equipped to deal with humanitarian crises than 10 years ago.
“I am pleased that in each of these countries Ireland is playing an important role in providing vitally needed funding both bilaterally and through the European Union and United Nations.
“I would like to pay particular tribute to the many Irish citizens working in these countries with NGOs or the UN, often in very difficult and dangerous conditions. They make an incredible contribution and are the finest ambassadors for this country.”
Note for editors
- Minister Costello represented Ireland at the second international pledging conference for Syria which took place in Kuwait on 15 January 2014.
- Ireland has pledged a sum of €12 million towards the humanitarian response in Syria and neighbouring countries in 2014.
- This will be disbursed to key UN partners, the Red Cross movement and other NGO partners. It will support the provision of life saving humanitarian supplies and essential services such as health and education.
- Ireland’s funding is aimed at helping implementing agencies to address the crisis within Syria and in neighbouring countries, particularly Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
- In addition to funding, Ireland has also provided humanitarian support to the region in the form of supplies of non-food items from our emergency relief stocks held in Dubai and specialist emergency personnel under our Rapid Response Initiative.
- In 2013, Irish Aid provided €2.5 million to the UN-managed Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) for South Sudan.
- In response to the current outbreak of conflict and resulting displacement, two airlifts totalling 45 tonnes of emergency supplies have been dispatched to South Sudan from our pre-positioned stocks in Ghana.
- These supplies consist mainly of blankets, Jerry cans, tarpaulins, kitchen sets and mosquito nets and will be distributed by our NGO partner Concern. The first of these shipments arrived in Juba on Monday 13th January 2014.
Central African Republic
- Minister Costello attended a high level international meeting on CAR in Brussels on 20 January where he pledged €2million to deal with the current deteriorating situation in the country.