Brussels - The European Commission is delivering on its promise to help the Horn of Africa recover from the destructive drought of 2011, overcome its chronic problems and set out on the path of development. Today the Commission is adding €22 million to its humanitarian aid in the region. The new money will help build the resilience to future disasters of at least one million Kenyans and Somalis.
The new aid brings to €335 million the European Commission's humanitarian aid contribution to the Horn of Africa since the start of the hunger emergency. In July last year the crisis was so grave that the United Nations declared famine in parts of Somalia. Today, thanks to better rains and the dedicated work of humanitarian organisations, the famine has abated. Yet hunger, displacement and insecurity persist.
"Millions of people in the region are still depending on humanitarian aid to survive, but after a good rainy season that promises a reasonable harvest, the challenge is shifting from saving lives in an emergency to preventing emergencies in the future," said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union's Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "We can't prevent drought but we can prevent a repeat of the food crisis it caused here last year. Our new aid decision contributes to this goal," the Commissioner underlined.
To promote long-term solutions to the Horn of Africa's chronic problems (drought risks, insecurity, weak communal ability to withstand shocks, precarious livelihoods) the new funding will target local communities and those displaced by conflict and hunger and will provide them with food assistance, water and sanitation, livelihood support and health services.
The funds will be channelled through the EU's SHARE strategy (Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience). Launched this year, SHARE has become one of the main vehicles for EU assistance to the Horn of Africa. With it, the Commission pools its humanitarian assets (saving lives in the crisis) and its long-term development capabilities and directs them at removing the root causes of food crises with the goal to prevent their reoccurrence.
SHARE is financing a variety of projects: from the treatment of severe malnutrition in infants to improved management of natural resources, livestock health and trade, agriculture (improved and adapted practices, small-scale irrigation), alternative income generating activities and basic services (water, sanitation).
Last year, severe drought in the countries of the Horn of Africa – Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia – caused one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises of this century. The entire region faced its worst drought in 60 years. More than 13 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance. And for the first time since 1992, the United Nations declared famine because of the lack of access to food in parts of southern Somalia.
As one of the world’s leading donors to this food crisis, the European Union (Commission and Member States combined) has provided €791 million to the region since the crisis began last year. The European Commission alone has assisted 6.5 million vulnerable people last year by providing food, nutrition, water and sanitation worth €181 million.
So far in 2012 the Commission had allocated €132 million in humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa. This assistance is helping people to purchase and transport food, as well as providing of medical care, as well as of water and sanitation. Contributing to the survival of millions of people, it is also supporting the first steps in the recovery process, for instance through the provision of seeds and tools, improved water management, and restocking of herds.
The funds are being implemented on the ground by over a dozen of the Commission's partner agencies, including both UN agencies and international NGOs.
The European Union's active presence as a development actor in the Horn of Africa also emphasizes on food security, agriculture and rural development. Since 2008, the EU has committed over €400 million in development aid to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia; helping to feed the most vulnerable, improve nutrition and support sustainable agriculture.
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