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Minister O’Sullivan announces €1 million funding for emergency food relief in the Horn of Africa

Emergencies, News/feature, Horn of Africa, Somalia, 2011

Minister of State for Trade and Development Jan O’Sullivan today announced an additional €1 million in funding for emergency food relief and assistance to refugees in the Horn of Africa.

The latest funding brings to €5.6 million the total Irish Government support since the start of 2011 for victims of the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.

The emergency funding will provide vital food supplies to young children and pregnant and breast-feeding women, in addition to supporting shelter, basic healthcare and clean water for Somali refugees fleeing to Kenya to escape drought and conflict in their own country.

Minister O’Sullivan, who is today attending a meeting of EU Development Ministers in Poland, urged the international community to work together more closely to secure the future for millions of people.

“I raised the Horn of Africa crisis with my EU counterparts today to press for stronger international cooperation to tackle this critical humanitarian emergency.  Up to 12 million people urgently need food, clean water and shelter.  More than half of the children arriving at refugee centres are seriously malnourished. We must act urgently to prevent greater loss of life,” Minister O’Sullivan said.

Of the €1 million announced today: 

  • €750,000 will fund the World Food Programme’s efforts across the region to dramatically increase the distribution of highly-nutritious foodstuffs to small children and pregnant women, who are particularly vulnerable.
  • €250,000 is being provided to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support the agency in providing shelter, healthcare, water and sanitation to refugees. The UNHCR has reported that numbers at Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya have swollen to more than 400,000, over four times its intended capacity. 


“Ireland has been closely monitoring the deteriorating situation in Horn of Africa since last autumn. Today’s announcement brings to €5.6 million the Government’s funding to Concern, Trócaire, Goal and World Vision for emergency food, water, sanitation and healthcare, and to the United Nations agencies in the region so far this year”.

“Only by working together in a strategic and effective manner will the international community, aid agencies and the Governments of the region be able to respond fully to this devastating crisis. Ireland is in daily contact with our partners in the region and internationally. ”” Minister O’Sullivan said.

15 July 2011

Notes to the editor

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas assistance. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Irish Aid has provided €3.1 million to Concern, Trócaire, Goal and World Vision for emergency food, water, sanitation and healthcare in the Horn of Africa since the beginning of 2011. Today’s announcement brings to €2.5 million the funding provided to the United Nations for distribution to humanitarian agencies operating in the area.
  • 11 members of Irish Aid’s Rapid Response Corps (RRC) are now working in the region. The RRC is a register of highly-skilled individuals who are willing to be deployed at short notice to assist in an emergency relief effort.
  • In addition to emergency funding for humanitarian crises, Ireland provides support for long-term development work which is designed to equip communities to withstand climatic and other shocks. In Ethiopia, Ireland supports the Productive Safety Nets Programme, which offers cash or food in return for environmental works which help communities conserve water and improve agricultural productivity. This programme reaches over seven million people annually and ensures that they are properly nourished, while their environment is protected.
  • Ireland has also contributed €4 million to the United Nation's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) so far in 2011. The CERF was established in 2006 following the Asian Tsunami to provide immediately-accessible funds to the UN for use in a crisis such as the Horn of Africa. Funds are now being drawn down by a range of UN agencies for drought-related activities.

For further information or to request an interview with Minister O’Sullivan, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 087-9099975.