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IP/10/942

Brussels, 16 July 2010

Commission allocates € 15 million to prevent hunger, malnutrition and epidemics in Ethiopia

Today, the European Commission has adopted a € 15 million aid package to address a critical food security situation in Ethiopia where an estimated 5.2 million people will be requiring food assistance this year. The main bulk of the Commission’s funding will go towards providing appropriate and adequate food assistance to the disaster affected population, including food aid, nutrition and short-term food security. Support will also be given to the agricultural and livestock sectors, to safeguard livelihoods and improve food security. The new funding decision will also provide a response to compounding needs in the health and water and sanitation sectors, to avoid health risks such as the recurrent outbreaks of cholera and meningitis epidemics.

The Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, stated: “The majority of the population in Ethiopia still live far below the poverty line, and is extremely vulnerable to severe changes in weather patterns, droughts, epidemics and protracted internal conflicts. With our multiple interventions we aim not only to provide for a speedy recovery but also to help to communities strengthen their own coping mechanisms.”

In addition to emergency food aid like the one adopted today, disaster risk reduction programmes are a crucial part of the Commission's overall aid strategy, emphasizing longer term solutions in the form of climate change adaptation and strengthening communities' own coping mechanisms. In June, the Commission allocated € 20 million to support 6 drought-prone countries in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia.

Background

In Ethiopia the level of infrastructural development is low and the economy is by and large agrarian. The reliance on rain-fed agriculture means that the population is highly susceptible to seasonal variations and weather conditions. In 2009, the rains showed a below normal amount, late onset, early cessation and poor distribution.

On 31st March, 2010, the Commission adopted a Communication on Humanitarian Food Assistance (See IP/10/404). This lays out a new policy framework for EU humanitarian action to strengthen efforts to tackle food-insecurity in humanitarian crises. In recent years, hunger and malnutrition have increased in the world; in 2010, over 1 billion people are considered to be food insecure. Of these, approximately 100 million are living in crisis contexts, and face extreme and acute food-insecurity and malnutrition that poses an immediate threat to life. The Communication states that EU Humanitarian Food Assistance will aim to save and preserve life, to protect livelihoods, and to increase resilience for populations facing on-going or forecasted humanitarian food crises, or recovering from them.

For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm


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