According to a EU Press Release the European Commission has earmarked a further €53.475 million, through a series of financing decisions, for expanded humanitarian aid to vulnerable people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Mauritania. The funds are channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.
Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid said: “The humanitarian consequences of climate change are felt very hard in many countries of sub-Saharan-Africa. An enormous area stretching from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa has been affected by extreme weather hazards in recent months and indeed years. Lasting severe drought with in some cases brutal flooding have had devastating effect on harvests and livestock, and increased the vulnerability of millions of people. In those regions climatic hazards exacerbate further dramatic situations caused by conflicts, poor governance and widespread poverty”. He added: “ Such humanitarian crises which require immediate relief are a stark reminder of the crucial importance of getting an agreement in Copenhagen in order to address the root causes of climate change. Lives are at stake. “
Each funding decision launched by the Commission is tailor-made to respond to the specific humanitarian needs in the countries concerned. In all cases, the most vulnerable populations have been greatly affected by poor and erratic rainfall leading to smaller harvests, loss of livestock and increased food prices.
Somalia: €20 million
Somalia faces huge humanitarian needs due to the combined effect of conflict, drought and governance issues. Half of the population – 3.7 million people, including 1.4 million internally displaced (IDPs) – depend on external assistance.
The Commission has earmarked a further €20 million in humanitarian funding on top of its previous allocations for 2009 (€18 million) to help victims of continuing insecurity and climatic hazards with a focus on health/nutrition, water/sanitation, food and food security.
Kenya: €8 million
Kenya’s current drought follows a succession of poor rainfall seasons over the past four years. Around four million people need food assistance. The new funding will focus on providing basic food, nutritional support, protection of livestock assets and other forms of short-term livelihood support.
This is in addition to humanitarian support worth €16 million already provided in Kenya during 2009.
Ethiopia: €10 million
In Ethiopia, almost 14 million people (20% of the population) are threatened by the food shortages and rising prices. The new allocation of €10 million, which comes on top of €19 million already provided in 2009, is for immediate humanitarian food assistance targeting people most affected by acute food insecurity.
Uganda: €5.475 million
It is estimated that the food security of around 1.5 million people in northern Uganda is threatened by the combination of drought and rising food prices. The Commission’s new funding focuses on providing emergency food assistance to the most vulnerable people affected by crop failures in the north.
The Commission had already provided €14 million in 2009 for humanitarian assistance in Uganda.
Sahel: €10 million
Persistent malnutrition and food insecurity are among the biggest issues in the Sahel region, affecting people who are already extremely susceptible to poverty and external shocks such as droughts and floods.
The Commission has earmarked a further €10 million in humanitarian assistance (€2 million for Chad, €3m for Mauritania and Mali, and €5 million for Burkina Faso and Niger). These funds supplement the previous allocation in 2009 of €13 million to fight malnutrition in the Sahel. The focus is on meeting nutritional needs and boosting people’s coping mechanisms, through improved access to food assistance and healthcare and clean water.
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.