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Minister Sherlock announces €2 million to tackle Ethiopia drought

Budget/funding, Environmental/Climate Change, News/feature, Africa, Ethiopia, 2015

Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock T.D., announced today that the Government is to contribute an additional €2 million to the international response to the drought in Ethiopia.

Due to El Nino effect, and following the failure of the short rains this March and an erratic rainy season from June to September of this year, parts of Ethiopia are facing a severe drought. The Ethiopian Government has identified 8.2 million people in need of food assistance this year, and the United Nations believe 15 million people will need support in early 2016.

Announcing the funding, Minister Sherlock said:

“Large parts of Ethiopia are facing an acute challenge this year. The main rains have failed in many places and food stocks are running low. Thousands have migrated to cities and towns in search of water and livelihood opportunities. Hundreds of thousands of animals have already died.

“I welcome the role the Government of Ethiopia is playing in allocating resources from its own budget to respond to the drought. However, gaps remain, and I believe the international community now needs to step up support in order to pre-position stocks of food and materials for 2016. An early intervention will help protect the lives and the livelihoods of the families most affected”.

Recalling his visits to Ethiopia, Minister Sherlock said:

“Irish Aid has been at the forefront of working with the Ethiopian Government and other international partners to develop and implement the Productive Safety Net Programme and to build capacity to respond to humanitarian crises, when they occur.

“Ireland is working with our UN and NGO partners on the ground to protect vulnerable women and children, and to meet the food, nutrition and health needs of those affected.

“Ethiopia has shown great leadership in putting in place long term programmes which help famers cope with the impact of climate change and drought. Interventions, such as the Productive Safety Net Programme, provide cash/food to millions of the poorest people every year and rehabilitates the environment though community based projects. In 2016 this programme will support some 8 million people to overcome the impact of the drought.

“The €2 million funding I am announcing today brings our total funding of drought relief efforts in Ethiopia to €5.5 million this year. Further support will be provided in 2016.”

Press Office
20 November 2015

Notes to Editor:

Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie

The 2015 short rains in Ethiopia, known locally as the belg, have failed. Six million people rely on these rains which in a normal year fall between February and May. These rains account for approximately 10% of national food production. Earlier this month the government of Ethiopia announced that 8.2 million people will need food assistance before December at a cost of US$596 million. One million children and mothers will need supplementary nutrition support and over 350,000 children will need to be treated for severe malnutrition.

This year alone, Ireland is providing over €26 million through our bilateral aid programme in Ethiopia to address poverty, vulnerability and hunger.

In 2015 Irish Aid is providing €3.8 million to the Humanitarian Response Fund of the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs. The fund is focused on saving lives and protecting threatened livelihoods. UN agencies, international and national non-governmental organisations and the Ethiopian Red Cross are eligible recipients. This funding is used to provide nutrition support to communities in very food insecure areas.
In 2015, Irish Aid provided €10.4 million to the Productive Safety Net Programme. €1.7 million has been allocated to Concern, Goal and Trocaire.

As co-chair of the Development Assistance Group, which co-ordinates the work of Ethiopia’s 28 bilateral and multilateral partners, Ireland has been active in encouraging the international community to respond, and to respond early to the current drought in Ethiopia.