Brussels, 17 December 2009 - The European Commission is providing €50 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable drought-affected people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. The funds are channelled through the Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
"We face a disastrous situation in the Horn of Africa that demonstrates the terrible potential of climate change. This crisis, which is happening now, underlines why it is so important to reach agreement in Copenhagen", said Mr De Gucht, European Commissioner in charge of Development and Humanitarian Aid. "Large parts of the Horn have had less than 75% of normal rainfall this year, having already endured a series of severe droughts. The population can no longer cope with such extreme and protracted hardship which often comes on top of conflict situations. As a result, more than 16 million people desperately need help. The European Union, as the biggest aid donor to the Horn region, is living up to its responsibility by boosting its humanitarian response."
Ethiopia: €25 million
After several consecutive crop failures and with poor harvests forecast again, the nutritional situation in parts of Ethiopia has deteriorated badly and is expected to worsen further. The new funds will cover food assistance and multi-sector relief including health services. Support will go to epidemic response, and improvements to water supply, sanitation and hygiene practices in the affected areas.
Somalia: €7 million
Since the outbreak of conflict in 1991, Somalia has been plagued by fighting, massive human displacement, political and ethnic tensions, localised insecurity, economic hardship and climatic shocks. The combined effect has been a serious erosion in livelihoods, aggravating poverty and increasing food insecurity and vulnerability.
The funding decision will cover health, water/sanitation and nutrition projects as well as livelihood support.
Kenya: €13 million
In Kenya, an estimated 3.8 million people rely on humanitarian aid and the situation is worsening with acute malnutrition (above 20%) reported in five districts.
The immediate focus is on providing food/nutrition and livestock protection together with other forms of short-term livelihood support.
Uganda: €5 million
Around 2.2 million people in the Acholi and Karamoja regions of northern Uganda face food insecurity. The new funds will be used to deliver basic services to the population, including food assistance, water and healthcare.
This decision brings the total amount of humanitarian aid provided for these four countries in the Horn of Africa in 2009 to almost €150 million. All Commission-funded humanitarian projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. ECHO has support offices in most of the countries concerned. Its field experts closely follow developments in the humanitarian situation and play an active role in local coordination of relief efforts. They also monitor the use of the Commission's relief funds.
For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm