The funding will be channelled through the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), which is managing emergency food distribution across many of Sudan's poorest and most vulnerable communities.
The WFP's emergency operation for 2010 will provide more than 650,000 tons of food to 6.4 million people in areas including Darfur and Southern Sudan.
Announcing the funding, Minister Power said:
"We remain seriously concerned about the situation in Sudan. Sudanese people are among the most vulnerable in the world, as a result of the combination of conflict, large-scale population displacement and underlying hunger and poverty. The past year has seen a significant increase in emergency food requirements. This urgent need for assistance is expected to continue through 2010.
"Poor rainfall levels in Southern Sudan have caused crop failure and extended the 'hunger gap', leaving as many as 1.5 million people extremely vulnerable to food shortages. We know that as many as one in six people in this region are acutely malnourished and 130,000 people have been forced to leave their homes as a result of ongoing conflict.
"The World Food Programme's operation in Sudan is the largest of its emergency operations worldwide. The WFP's immediate goal is to reduce the unacceptably high number of people dying and the incidence of acute malnutrition. They are also committed to assisting displaced people to return to their homes and increasing access to education, particularly for girls.
"This comprehensive response will save the lives of thousands of men, women and children, reduce hunger and restore the livelihoods of those affected by conflict and food shortages. I am delighted that Ireland's contribution will help the WFP to implement this vital work. By placing the fight against hunger at the heart of our overseas aid programme, Ireland has taken a leadership role internationally on reducing hunger.
"Through Irish Aid, the Government has already provided €4.5 million in emergency humanitarian support for Sudan this year, and we have allocated a further €5.6 million to aid agencies working with vulnerable communities in Sudan, including Concern and Goal. Our support for community based programmes which focus on areas such as primary healthcare, education and rural development, tackle the root causes of hunger and poverty and ultimately help build a more sustainable future for the people of Sudan," Minister Power said.
For further information visit www.irishaid.gov.ie or contact Maggie Collins, press office, Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs on 086-0659630 or 01 854 6926
Notes for the editor
- Irish Aid is the Government's programme for overseas development. It is a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
- Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world. Man-made conflicts within and across its borders have pushed Sudan down to no. 150 (out of 182) on the UN's 2009 Human Development Index.
- This latest funding brings to more than €10.7 million the total aid assistance provided by the Irish Government to Sudan in 2009. Some €5.6 million is dispersed through partnerships with non-government organisations such as Concern, Trocaire and Goal.
- The World Food Programme's Sudan Emergency Operation entitled "Food Assistance to Populations affected by Conflict" plans to provide emergency assistance to a total of 6.4 million beneficiaries in Sudan with more than 665,000 metric tons of food assistance, and at an overall cost of US$ 873.66 million for 2010.
1 January 2010