Dirk Niebel meets Kenya's President – and pledges new funds for drought-hit region
Dirk Niebel, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, today met with Kenya's President, Mwai Kibaki. During their talks, it emerged that the hunger crisis in Kenya and its neighbouring countries has been getting worse. Not only is Kenya trying to provide relief to its own people affected by the drought but is also having to cope with the steadily growing stream of refugees from Somalia.
Dirk Niebel said: "By immediately providing 33.5 million euros in bilateral aid in addition to the funds we are already providing as our share of the European and World Bank aid efforts, Germany has responded quickly and without unnecessary red tape to the crisis. In view of the emergency situation, I have now decided to commit some 118 million euros in additional funding for the region, over and on top of the funds already committed. This takes Germany's total bilateral commitments to some 151.5 million euros. For Kenya alone, I have committed some 50 million euros. Besides providing relief for the refugee camps, we shall also be providing support for the local communities. Although they may be less in the public limelight, other countries around the Horn of Africa, such as Yemen, Djibouti and Uganda, will also be receiving additional funds. We want to provide quick relief in order to prevent more people dying of starvation. At the same time, we are promoting stronger rural development because we want to help ensure that, in future, such emergencies do not happen again, at least not on the same scale."
To ensure that emergency relief is provided quickly, Germany's government will work together with tried and tested partner organisations in order to ensure that help reaches the people who need it quickly and effectively. These organisations include the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ, as well as non-governmental organisations such as the Welthungerhilfe and multilateral bodies such as the United Nations' World Food Programme.
Following his meeting with Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, Minister Niebel said: "Together we call on all parties in Somalia to allow the international community unlimited access and not to endanger either emergency aid or humanitarian aid workers. In order to achieve a long-term political solution, we need a clear policy roadmap that will help improve the situation in Somalia. The leaders of the countries in the region, together with the regional organisations of IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) and EAC (East African Community) will have a major role to play in making this possible."
The health sector is also receiving support as part of the relief effort, as Dirk Niebel explained: "During this acute emergency situation, concern is growing that epidemics may spread as a result of malnutrition. That is why relief efforts will also include preventative health measures. Furthermore, the additional relief package also includes support measures designed to help people re-establish the basic means of providing themselves with food and income, thereby improving their resilience against future droughts. For this alone, I am making available 20 million euros in a 'regional fund for resilience against drought in the Horn of Africa' to help strengthen the resilience of local communities there." The fund will focus on helping the people living in the drought-stricken areas in the Horn of Africa, in particular in Somalia amongst other places. Money will go towards measures that improve water supply, food production and livestock farming for the people affected by the worsening dry seasons and periods of drought.