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European Commission - Press release

Three months of famine: European Commission increases its aid to Horn of Africa

Brussels, 20 October 2011 - The European Commission is mobilising an additional €24 million to assist vulnerable people threatened by famine and the effects of drought in the Horn of Africa.

The extra funding is on top of the €160 million provided by the Commission so far. It is announced three months since famine was declared by the United Nations in parts of Somalia and will provide food, water and treatment for malnourished children, as well as increasing protection and security for refugees and humanitarian aid workers at Dadaab camp in north-east Kenya.

Dadaab, which lies close to the Somali border, is the world's largest refugee camp with a population expected to reach half a million within the next months.

More than 13 million people are currently threatened by the effects of drought in the Horn of Africa and the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva today renews her appeal for the world to continue to show solidarity and generosity towards this vulnerable population.

"Millions of people in the Horn of Africa need our daily help to stay alive," said Commissioner Georgieva. "Children are at highest risk, and are particularly vulnerable to the horrible by-product of much expected rains - a spread of diseases like diarrhea, cholera, malaria. The most dramatic needs remain inside Somalia, where we provide life-saving support to over 1.7 million people, often under extremely difficult conditions."

"We are all very concerned about the highly insecure environment for humanitarian workers who do their best to save and protect lives. This is why I will continue to advocate for greater security for aid workers and will make additional funds available for protecting both the victims of the famine and the humanitarian workers striving to save their lives".


The European Union is the largest humanitarian donor for the Horn of Africa, providing over €700 million in assistance since the beginning of the year, of which €184 million comes from the European Commission.

In Somalia, the European Commission is supporting urgent life saving operations with €62 million of funding. The focus is on food aid and urgent medical assistance. European Commission humanitarian assistance in Kenya (€43.8m), Ethiopia (€46m) and Djibouti (€2.6m) covers Somali refugees, as well as the most vulnerable local populations in drought-affected areas.

In Ethiopia five refugee camps host 130,000 Somalis and the influx of refugees into Djibouti also continues.

In Dadaab, the European Commission is already financing protection and security measures with €2.6 million from the humanitarian aid budget and will double this amount. Areas of spending include shelter for new arrivals and safe transport for Somali refugees from the border to the camps and for their registration upon arrival. The Commission has also contributed €4 million to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR for protection activities in Dadaab as part of its development policy and in the framework of a special Regional Protection Programme.

The Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is present on the ground with a regional support office in Kenya. In Ethiopia, ECHO has a field office. The ECHO experts liaise with aid organisations and monitor relief projects.

Since 2006 the Commission has given €70 million to disaster risk reduction programmes in the Horn of Africa. These programmes aim at building the resilience of local communities by helping them prepare for the impacts of recurrent drought with minimal losses. In Moyale, northern Kenya, where the Commission and its partners began mobile outreach services early enough to identify and treat children with signs of moderate malnutrition, the rates of malnutrition are low compared to neighbouring districts.

For more information

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

The European Commission's humanitarian aid:

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

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