The European Commission is providing €50 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable drought-affected people in Somalia , Ethiopia , Kenya and Uganda . The funds will be channelled through the Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Karel De Gucht. Speaking when he made the announcement Mr Karel De Gucht European Commissioner in charge of Development and Humanitarian Aid in Horn of Africa ,said the region face disastrous situation in the as a result of the terrible potential effects 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.
“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 and Kenya will be the biggest beneficiary of the fund getting with Ethiopia getting €25 million while Kenya will get €13 million. This after the two countries faced worst hunger in decades as a result of consecutive crop failures and drop in rainfall for the last two years.
Somalia and Uganda will get €7 million and €5 million respectively with the money expected to help improve the livelihoods of those living in aggravating poverty and increasing food insecurity. The new funds will cover food assistance and multi-sector relief including health services. Support will also be used for epidemic response, and improvements to water supply, sanitation and hygiene practices in the affected areas. 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.
The funding will also cover health, water/sanitation and nutrition projects as well as livelihood support. This donation 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.
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