Djibouti + 6 more

Horn of Africa: Commission earmarks further €10 million to improve drought preparedness

Brussels/Nairobi, 13 June 2006 - The European Commission is giving a further €10 million in humanitarian aid to improve drought preparedness in the Greater Horn of Africa. The lives and livelihoods of around 12 million people are at risk in the region because of the drought. The Commission's aim is to reduce their vulnerability through three kinds of measures: preparing communities to deal with droughts, contingency planning, and strengthening existing early warning systems. Nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists in seven countries will benefit from the additional assistance (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda). Today's donation brings the Commission's total response to the drought in the Greater Horn of Africa to €88 million since 2005, including €27 million in humanitarian assistance.

Commissioner Louis Michel, responsible for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "The Commission has been a very active donor since the very start of the drought-related crisis in the Horn of Africa. The lack of rain has put the livelihoods of millions of people at risk. So far, our humanitarian assistance has focused on emergency response and relief, providing water, food, basic healthcare and support for the livestock upon which most people in the region rely. With this additional funding, we go one step further by focusing on disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction, linking relief with rehabilitation and development."

In March, Louis Michel met leaders from seven countries in the region at the 11th summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (see IP/06/338). Here, he called for a strategy for peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa focusing on regional governance, natural resource management and food security.

The Commission has a two-pronged approach to tackling the drought-related crisis in the region. Relief assistance is provided under the humanitarian aid budget (€27 million to date). Medium and long term support to mitigate the effects of the drought is financed through the food aid/food security budget line of the European Development Fund (€61 million).

The region is home to around 24 million nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the region: 170,000 people in Djibouti, 1.4 million in Eritrea, six million in Ethiopia, 4.8 million in Kenya, 6.4 million in Somalia, 4.8 million in Sudan and 400,000 in Uganda.. It is estimated that the lives and livelihoods of half these people are at risk. The Commission's financial support to drought preparedness and risk reduction covers, for example: maintaining critical water points, mapping water sources, supporting traditional structures (such as camel trains to carry water), fodder for animals, and equipment for water maintenance. The funding will also help improve the quality of early warning systems in the region, and strengthen their links with the United Nations' Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

European Commission drought-related assistance for the Horn of Africa

Already allocated* Humanitarian aid Longer term aid
Kenya €7m
Ethiopia €1m €25m
Somalia €4m €36m
Regional (7 countries) €15m
Total €88m

* The table only lists amounts from recent or planned decisions that are specifically drought-related. The European Commission also funds humanitarian aid interventions in the Horn of Africa which are not directly linked to the drought but which nevertheless bring relief to vulnerable people in the region (see MEMO/06/130 and IP/05/1711).

The funding is channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), which works with about 180 implementing partners, including specialised United Nations' agencies, international and non-governmental relief organisations.

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