Brussels, 17 March 2008
The European Commission is providing €30 million in humanitarian aid to improve drought preparedness in the Greater Horn of Africa. The lives and livelihoods of around 12 million people are at risk in the region because of recurrent severe droughts. The Commission's aim is to reduce their vulnerability by helping communities to improve their response to and preparedness for recurrent drought cycles. Nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists in seven countries (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda) will benefit from the assistance. The new funding will bring the Commission's total humanitarian support for vulnerable people in the Greater Horn of Africa to almost €460 million since 2005. All funds are channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department under the responsibility of Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.
Louis Michel said: "The human tragedy in the Horn of Africa continues to get our full attention. Humanitarian aid is mainly about emergency response and saving lives but with this regional decision, the Commission has stepped up its focus on disaster preparedness and risk reduction, with the aim of increasing people's resilience."
The Commission's humanitarian support focuses on cross-border initiatives: drought is an issue that transcends national boundaries and the same is true of the challenges that confront the region's pastoralists. These key issues are addressed in the EU's regional political partnership for peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa.
The Greater Horn of Africa is one of the poorest and most conflict-prone regions in the world. Climate change and, in particular, the long-term decline in rainfall is causing desertification. Farming populations have little time to recover after one drought before the next one occurs. Drought cycles of just two to three years are common. It is estimated that around half the estimated 24 million farmers in the region are at risk. The Commission aims to assist these people by concentrating its support on five major areas of need: water, animal health, human health, mainstreaming of community preparedness and coordination.
The Commission's financial support covers:
This new funding follows on from the previous Regional Drought Decision for the Greater Horn of Africa, worth €10 million, that was adopted in 2006 (see IP/06/775).
Commission-funded humanitarian projects are implemented by non-governmental
relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent
movement. The Commission has a humanitarian regional support office in Kenya's
capital, Nairobi, and humanitarian experts based in Sudan and Uganda. They
closely follow developments in the humanitarian situation, monitor the use of
Commission relief funds and play an active role in the local coordination of