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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 11 October 2012

European Commission boosts resilience through emergency aid in the Horn of Africa

The European Commission is increasing by €30 million its aid to the Horn of Africa, helping a million people in Somalia and Ethiopia in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The primary goal is to support immediate life-saving activities with an important share of these funds dedicated to helping build the resilience of vulnerable communities to withstand future disasters.

The new funding comes from the Commission's Emergency Aid Reserve (EAR) and brings the total humanitarian financial contribution from the Commission for the region to €162 million this year.

Increased rainfall and sustained humanitarian assistance has resulted in improved food security in the entire Horn of Africa compared to the acute humanitarian crisis the region faced last year, when famine was declared for the first time since 1992 by the United Nations in parts of Somalia.

But more than two million people still have insufficient food in Somalia and depend on humanitarian aid. In Ethiopia, the number of people in need of humanitarian aid has increased by 16 per cent since the beginning of this year and more than 100,000 people have been affected by recent flooding.

In addition, Ethiopia hosts more than 368,000 refugees from neighbouring countries and Somalia has more than 1.3 million internally displaced persons in the country.

"Thanks to sustained humanitarian assistance and better weather conditions, the situation in the region has improved but more than nine million people in the Horn of Africa still need food, shelter, water and protection. There are more than 1.5 million internally displaced people and 1.2 million refugees in the region,” said Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Civil Protection and Crisis Response.

"Our main goal is to help vulnerable people to survive but we can best do this by also strengthening their resilience and helping prepare them to be ready for when the next disaster inevitably strikes”.

By promoting long-term solutions to the Horn of Africa's chronic problems (drought risks, insecurity, weak communal ability to withstand shocks, precarious livelihoods) the new funding will target local communities and those displaced by conflict and hunger.

The funds will be channelled through the EU's SHARE strategy (Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience) which has become one of the main vehicles for EU assistance to the Horn of Africa after its launch this year.

SHARE pools humanitarian assets with long-term development capabilities and directs them towards removing the root causes of food crises with the goal to prevent their reoccurrence.

This new contribution will help support speedy recovery from the stresses and shocks that vulnerable populations in the Horn of Africa face every day.

The aid will target people in greatest need and will be channelled through the European Commission's humanitarian partners in the field, including UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.

Background

Last year, the Horn of Africa faced one of the worst droughts in 60 years, which led to a large humanitarian crisis affecting more than 13 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.

The European Union (the European Commission and Member States), one of the world's largest humanitarian donors to the Horn of Africa, quickly moved to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the region, providing €807 million in relief aid since the beginning of 2011. The European Commission alone provided €181 million and reached about 6.5 million people in 2011.

The Horn of Africa is faced with increasingly frequent and intense droughts. At the same time, population growth, increased pressures on resources, insecurity and prolonged geo-political instability have made it harder for the poorest communities to cope with and recover from the droughts.

With the aim to foster long-term food security and build up the population's ability to cope with future droughts in the Horn of Africa, this year the European Commission launched "SHARE - Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience". SHARE is a joint humanitarian-development initiative to improve the ability of people, communities and countries to face persistent and acute emergencies.

With a package of more than €270 million, SHARE is financing a variety of projects: from the treatment of severe malnutrition in infants to improved management of natural resources, livestock health and trade, agriculture (improved and adapted practices, small-scale irrigation), alternative income generating activities and basic services (water, sanitation).

On October 3rd the Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and the Commissioner for Humanitarian aid, International Cooperation and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, proposed a new initiative to help vulnerable communities across the world build resilience to future crises. The "EU Approach to Resilience" Communication draws lessons from recent food crises and outlines the measures which will help reduce their future impact.

For more information

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

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

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

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

The Horn of Africa factsheet:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/hoa_en.pdf

Website on SHARE initiative:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/policies/resilience/share_en.htm

Website on Resilience:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/policies/resilience/resilience_en.htm

Communication "The EU Approach to Resilience: Learning from Food Security Crises":

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/what/food-security/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)


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