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European Commission - Press release

New emergency funding to reach Horn of Africa refugees

Brussels, 6 July 2011 – More than five million euros in aid will be sent immediately to the world's largest refugee centre by the European Commission, increasing this year's contribution to alleviating the drought crisis in the Horn of Africa to nearly €70 million.

The Commission is giving €5.67 million to address the upsurge of refugees arriving at the Dadaab camps in Kenya. At least 61,000 Somalis have sought refuge there since the beginning of this year, fleeing hunger, thirst and conflict. Dadaab's refugee population now stands at more than 370,000 in three camps - Ifo, Hagadera and Dagahaley.

More aid to the stricken region from the European Commission will be announced in the coming days.

"Severe drought is making tough living conditions unbearable, adding new pains to those caused by conflicts and erratic weather," said Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

"Dadaab is just the starkest reminder that the spectre of hunger has returned to Africa. We are acting today to respond to one of the most urgent problems, but we are preparing to commit more resources to the relief operation. What we are witnessing in the Horn of Africa is now considered to be the worst food crisis in the world today."

There are more than ten million people in need of emergency aid in drought-affected areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. EU money is being spent on feeding the most vulnerable, treating malnourished children, protecting livestock and providing water.

Background

The Horn of Africa has been severely affected by recurrent and persistent man-made and natural disasters, leaving populations highly vulnerable to drought, disease outbreaks, and to a lesser extent floods. The region is currently experiencing two consecutive seasons of below than average rainfall with more than 25% lower precipitation rates in pastoral areas in Somalia, Northern and Eastern Kenya, Southern and Eastern Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Droughts account for 95% of the death toll caused by natural disasters in Africa. Protracted conflicts, major structural problems and a lack of basic services mean that inhabitants are poorly equipped to cope. Malnutrition and child mortality are among the greatest humanitarian concerns in this region.

Last year the Commission allocated €96 million in humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people in the Horn of Africa.

For more information

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

The European Commission's humanitarian aid:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)


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