The Irish government has announced it will give an extra €3.5 million in funding to drought-stricken Ethiopia, bringing the total humanitarian relief donated to the African country to €9.1 million.
Last years short and long rains, known locally as the belg and meher, account for approximately 80% of national food production.
According to the Ethiopian government, 10.4 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Of this number, more than one million are children under the age of five and 700,000 are pregnant and lactating woman.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan announced the commitment on Thursday, saying the funding will be given to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) for distribution.
The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency, and uses practical means to deliver emergency assistance to the world’s most needy and fragile.
“Over ten million Ethiopians will require humanitarian assistance in the coming year as a result of failed rains.”
“THE COUNTRY IS FACING ITS WORST DROUGHT IN 30 YEARS, WITH FAMILIES UNABLE TO ACCESS THE MINIMUM LEVELS OF FOOD THAT THEY AND THEIR CHILDREN NEED.”
“The extra €3.5 million provided to the WFP will help to feed tens of thousands of children, as well as pregnant and lactating women, ensuring that their nutritional needs are met at this critical time.”
This is the second year in a row that the Irish government has increased its funding to Ethiopia.
“The scale of funding also reflects the historic ties between Ireland and Ethiopia and the compassionate interest of the Irish people in humanitarian relief for vulnerable victims of drought in Ethiopia,” added Minister Flanagan.
Minister of State for Development Seán Sherlock said that the international community must support the efforts being made by the Ethiopian government.
“Ethiopia has also shown great leadership in creating long-term programmes which help rural families cope with the impact of climate change and drought.
“The Productive Safety Net Programme, which provides cash and food to the most vulnerable of the rural poor, is one such intervention. Ireland is a long-standing supporter of the PSNP,” he said.