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Ministers Flanagan & Sherlock announce additional €3.5 million for drought-stricken Ethiopia

Budget/funding, News/feature, Ethiopia, 2016

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, and Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Cooperation, Seán Sherlock, TD, announced today, 28 January, that the Government is to contribute €3.5 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its response to the drought in Ethiopia. This brings Ireland’s emergency humanitarian relief in response to the current crisis in Ethiopia to a total of €9.1 million.

Due to the El Niño effect, Ethiopia is now facing its worst drought in 30 years. The rains in 2015 failed, leaving 10.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to Government of Ethiopia estimates. 

Announcing the funding, which will be provided through Ireland’s bilateral development programme in Ethiopia, Minister Flanagan said:

“Over ten million Ethiopians will require humanitarian assistance in the coming year as a result of failed rains. The country is facing its worst drought in 30 years, with families unable to access the minimum levels of food that they and their children need.

 Ireland has now contributed €9.1 million emergency humanitarian relief for Ethiopian crisis

“The €3.5 million provided to the World Food Programme will help to feed tens of thousands of children, as well as pregnant and lactating women, ensuring that their nutritional needs are met at this critical time.

“Recognising the scale of the crisis, the Irish Government has in 2015, and again this year, increased the funding available to our bilateral cooperation programme in Ethiopia.  This is to ensure that our programme can respond flexibly to the needs of those affected by the current drought, while also building the capacity of families to cope with climate change over the longer term.

“The scale of funding also reflects the historic ties between Ireland and Ethiopia and the compassionate interest of the Irish people in humanitarian relief for vulnerable victims of drought in Ethiopia.”

Minister Sherlock added:

“Since last spring, when the first rains failed, Irish Aid has worked with the Government and the international community in Ethiopia to develop and implement the response to this humanitarian crisis.

 Ministers acknowledge the scale of the humanitarian crisis and the leadership role played by the Ethiopian Government

“The Government of Ethiopia has played an important leadership role in allocating resources from its own budget to respond to the drought; however, gaps still remain. The international community needs to step up support now, in order to bolster the efforts made by the Ethiopian Government and local NGOs.

 “Ethiopia has also shown great leadership in creating long-term programmes which help rural families cope with the impact of climate change and drought. The Productive Safety Net Programme, which provides cash and food to the most vulnerable of the rural poor, is one such intervention. Ireland is a long-standing supporter of the PSNP.  We are committed to funding of €10.4 million in 2016, alongside our humanitarian assistance.” 


Press Office

28 January 2016

Notes to Editor:

Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie

The 2015 short and long rains in Ethiopia, known locally as the belg and meher failed. These rains account for approximately 80% of national food production. In December 2015, the Ethiopian Government and its humanitarian partners identified that over ten million people will require food assistance in 2016, with an estimated cost of US$1.4 billion. The estimated 10.4 million people who will require humanitarian assistance includes 1 million children under the age of five, and 700,000 pregnant and lactating women.

This year alone, Ireland will provide over €27 million through our bilateral aid programme in Ethiopia to address poverty, vulnerability and hunger.

In 2015 Irish Aid provided €3.8 million to the Humanitarian Response Fund of the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs. The fund is focused on saving lives and protecting threatened livelihoods. A further €1.8 million in humanitarian assistance was provided through NGO partners Trócaire, GOAL and Concern.

As co-chair of the Development Assistance Group, which co-ordinates the work of Ethiopia’s 28 bilateral and multilateral partners, Ireland has been active in encouraging the international community to respond, and to respond early.