Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello, today announced €7.25 million to provide emergency food, water and healthcare to communities affected by a severe drought in the Sahel region of Africa and by conflict in Sudan and South Sudan.
This is in addition to €8.2 million which the Minister allocated at the start of the year to support the emergency relief effort in both regions.
The new funding is being allocated as follows:
· €4.25 million to UN and aid agencies working in the Sahel region of Africa, which has been devastated by drought and food insecurity.
· €1.5 million to UN agencies in Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have been severely affected by fighting and three million people in Darfur need food assistance.
· €1.5 million to UN agencies working in South Sudan to meet the needs of three million people in need of emergency food assistance as a result of poor harvests and conflict.
The €4.25 million of Irish Aid funding for the Sahel will be channelled through the United Nations and aid agencies responding to the crisis. Niger, Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal are worst-hit, with the UN estimating that more than $1 billion is needed to respond to the urgent needs of up to 15 million people in the region.
Addressing the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade today, Minister Costello said:
“I have been monitoring the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel closely and in February approved €5 million to provide emergency food and healthcare to those in crisis. While that funding provided vital assistance to thousands of people, the needs are growing and it is now estimated that 15 million people do not have enough to eat.
“Mindful of the race against time, I have authorised an additional €4.25 million in assistance. The majority of this funding will support large-scale UN agencies, such as the World Food Programme and UNICEF, as well as key NGO partners who are working in the region, to deliver specialised food, nutrition and emergency healthcare.”
Minister Costello also announced €3 million in funding to assist communities in Sudan and South Sudan who have been severely affected by conflict and poor harvests. The funding will be channelled through the United Nations. Minister Costello said:
“In Sudan, the crisis is particularly acute in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions, where an estimated 350,000 civilians have been severely affected by fighting since June last year. In addition, more than three million people in Darfur are reliant on food aid. Today I am providing €1.5 million to the UN’s Common Humanitarian Fund, which will be used to support UN agencies to target the most critical humanitarian needs across the country.”
Minister Costello also announced €1.5 million in funding to the UN to support the relief effort in South Sudan.
“South Sudan, the world’s newest State, faces enormous development challenges. More than 80% percent of the population live on less than US$1 per day and insecurity - both in the border areas with the north, and internally - has led to mass movement of people. This has compounded the effects of a poor harvest last October. The cereal deficit in South Sudan in 2012 is likely to be double that of 2011, with close to 3 million people expected to require emergency food assistance this year. This funding to the United Nations will support its agencies to respond to the urgent needs for food, water and emergency healthcare.”
24 May, 2012
For further information or to request an interview with Minister Costello, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 087-9099975.
Notes to the editor
· Irish Aid is the Government’s programme of assistance to the developing world and is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
· Today’s announcement brings total Irish Aid funding to the Sahel, Sudan and South Sudan to almost €15.5 million in 2012.
· In February, Minister Costello approved €5 million to provide emergency food and healthcare to those in crisis in the Sahel region of Africa.
· He also allocated €2 million for the UN-managed Common Humanitarian Funds for both the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan.
· The UN Common Humanitarian Fund is a pooled fund to which donors contribute. These funds are an effective way to target resources to projects which address the greatest needs in countries where Irish Aid does not have a presence.
· A further €1.22 million has been made available to Irish NGOs for programmes in Sudan and South Sudan under the annual Humanitarian Programme Planning (HPP) funding scheme.
· The funding announced today is from Irish Aid’s Emergency and Recovery budget, which provides funding to respond to urgent humanitarian needs caused by conflict and natural or other disasters.
· As part of the €4.25 million in funding to the Sahel region announced today, Plan Ireland will receive €257,000 for its programme in Mali. Plan will construct water points in refugee camps and repair water facilities at host communities, in addition to building latrines and hand washing facilities in refugee camps and for communities who are hosting displaced people.