Schallenberg: “Austria is consistently continuing its humanitarian commitment in Africa.”
Council of Ministers approves EUR 1.4 million from the Foreign Disaster Fund for humanitarian aid in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. In the Council of Ministers on 27 November 2019, the Federal Government decided to disburse humanitarian funds totalling EUR 1.4 million. EUR 900,000 from the Foreign Disaster Fund is being made available for relief activities in Ethiopia, and a further half a million euros will go to Burkina Faso to alleviate the humanitarian emergency situation. In both countries, the funds are being made available to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to ensure the humanitarian care of the population.
"The impacts of climate change and conflicts in the region continue to weigh heavily on Ethiopia. We must act now to ensure successful development and combat the causes of migration on the ground," said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
Ethiopia is one of the countries most affected by the climate phenomenon El Niño. Two successive periods of drought have brought the country to the brink of famine. Ethnic tensions also lead to continued violence, with almost three million people internally displaced according to the Commission’s European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). Ethiopia is also massively affected by the conflicts in the region, almost one million refugees from neighbouring countries have come to the country. With the funds made available to the ICRC, Austria is helping supply the affected population with food and household utensils and is also ensuring they have access to drinking water. Half a million euros from the Foreign Disaster Fund will be made available to the ICRC to alleviate the humanitarian emergency in Burkina Faso.
"We support the International Committee of the Red Cross in its endeavours to develop water supplies and health services and protect the civilian population in our priority country Burkina Faso. In doing so, we are also making a contribution to ensure the suffering people still have hopes for the future in their home country. Austria is consistently continuing its humanitarian commitment," explains the Foreign Minister.
Burkina Faso is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. The problems are manifold, and the humanitarian situation is deteriorating rapidly. A state of emergency has been declared in large parts of the country, and the conflicts in neighbouring Mali and Niger are causing increasing insecurity and a dramatic increase in the number of displaced persons. In 2018 there was the most dangerous food shortage in the recent past. Burkina Faso is also suffering from the consequences of climate change, and long periods of drought and acute water shortages threaten the food security of the population.