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Min Flanagan and MoS McHugh announce €11m in humanitarian assistance for the Horn of Africa

Budget/funding, Emergencies, Hunger, News/feature, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Horn of Africa, 2017


Minister Flanagan and Minister of State McHugh announce €11m in humanitarian assistance for the Horn of Africa


Response to famine, drought and conflict in South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan T.D. and Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh T.D. today (Monday) announced new funding of €11 million to assist people suffering as a result of famine, drought and conflict in the Horn of Africa, specifically in South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan.


This funding initiative is in response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region. It will be focused on the three countries severely affected by the current humanitarian crisis.


Minister Flanagan said:


"Last month, famine was declared in parts of South Sudan with 100,000 people at risk of starvation and death. Over a quarter of a million children are severely malnourished and at risk of dying from hunger and malnutrition.   The situation is forecast to worsen in the coming months with 5 million people in need of food, almost 1 million of them on the brink of famine. 


"The situation is also serious in Somalia. A famine warning has been issued by the United Nations for Somalia with almost 3 million people facing crisis levels of food insecurity, more than double the number six months ago. 363,000 acutely malnourished children need urgent treatment and nutrition support. In Sudan, 3 million people are facing food insecurity at crisis levels, particularly in Darfur, and among displaced persons and refugees in the country.


"I am extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa. A massive and urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance in South Sudan and Somalia is required now to avoid a catastrophe. We must not wait until people are dying from hunger. We must act now.  I am determined  that Ireland will play its part by responding quickly to alleviate suffering and save lives."


Ireland will provide €3million to each of the UN Humanitarian Pooled Funds in Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.  It will be used to provide life saving assistance through UN and NGO partners, based on the needs of vulnerable people facing conflict, forced to leave their homes, and with insufficient food to feed their families. 


Minister Flanagan added: 


"The best way for Ireland to deliver its assistance to those in need is through our trusted partners who have a presence in these three countries, in particular the UN. Decisions on exactly what type of assistance is provided will be made locally depending on the needs in each country. It is essential that all parties to the conflict allow unhindered access to all communities in urgent need of assistance". 


Given the severity of the current situation for children in South Sudan, €1 million will be provided to UNICEF work in South Sudan, with a particular focus on treating acute malnutrition. 

Minister McHugh stated:


"We cannot ignore the suffering of children in South Sudan. We must act now to provide vital nutritional support to children on the brink of famine. 


"Many of these children have been forced from their homes with South Sudan now causing the largest refugee crisis in Africa. Over 1.5 million South Sudanese refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, 80% of whom are women and children. We are also providing an additional €1 million to UNHCR to address these immediate needs and alleviate their suffering.


"Ireland will continue to work with its EU and UN partners to ensure that the international community step up to its obligations to prevent further deaths from famine across the Horn of Africa. We must ensure that we turn this tide of human suffering."



Press Office

20 March 2017 


Notes to the editor:


  • Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see
  • This package of humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa announced today totals €11 million, and comprises €3 million in support to each of the three UN OCHA- managed Humanitarian Pooled Funds for South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia. These pooled funds allocate funding in country to a broad range of partners, including UN organisations, and national and international NGOs. Funding is provided against the Humanitarian Response Plan for each country and in the context of UN managed humanitarian appeals, to meet critical humanitarian needs ranging from food assistance to protection to livelihoods support. 
  • The funding announced also includes a €1m contribution to UNICEF's Humanitarian Action for Children Appeal for South Sudan, which has a particular focus on treating acute malnutrition. Also included is a €1 million contribution to the UNHCR's Regional Refugee Response Plan to address the immediate needs of some 1.5 million South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries. 
  • Ireland has provided €31 million in humanitarian assistance to the South Sudan crisis since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013. In 2016, Ireland contributed €11 million to this crisis.
  • Ireland has provided over €27 million in humanitarian assistance to our UN, Red Cross and NGO partners in Somalia, since 2012. In 2016, Ireland contributed €5.93 million to this crisis.  
  • Ireland has provided over €18 million in humanitarian assistance in Sudan since 2012. In2016, Ireland contributed €3.93 million to the Sudan crisis.
  • Our humanitarian assistance is delivered by UN, Red Cross and NGO partners on the ground and is focused on saving lives and alleviating the suffering of crisis affected people, including through meeting their immediate and most basic needs, providing emergency food and livelihoods assistance, treating acute malnutrition, providing shelter and protection, and providing emergency services in health care, water & sanitation and education.