EU response to African drought a “drop in the ocean”

17-Mar-2017 @ 01:00

Nirj Deva Nirj Deva

Nirj Deva Nirj Deva

Nirj Deva Nirj Deva

EU response to African drought a “drop in the ocean”

The EU is scaling-up its response to famine and drought in the Horn of Africa after Conservative development spokesman, Nirj Deva MEP, called for urgent action from the international community.

Mr Deva, Vice President of the European Parliament’s Development Committee, called on Christos Stylianides, the responsible commissioner, to act. Today she answered that call, announcing €165 million to help South Sudan, Somalia and neighbouring countries facing drought and famine.

However according to estimates by the Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the United Nations, this commitment falls far short of the €4.4 billion the region needs by July.

Reacting to the announcement Mr Deva said: “I welcome the quick response from the European Commission, however, more must done. Unless €4.4 billion is raised by July then the suffering and starvation will be on an unprecedented scale, affecting 20 million people. This money is barely a drop in the ocean that the international community needs to raise."

It is estimated that 4.6 million people in South Sudan, 4.7 million people in Nigeria, 1.7 million in Yemen and 6.2 million people in Somalia are at risk. The humanitarian response has fallen short in each country: Somalia has only received 21.3% of what they require, South Sudan only 17.6%, Yemen only 6.6% and Nigeria only 4.6%.

Mr Deva added: “The international community must act, this crisis is only becoming graver. The European Commission has answered my call, and these are good first steps, but the EU must do more. I will continue to push for international NGOs, the private sector and governments to use every resource available to them to prevent this growing catastrophe."

From the European Commission’s aid package, €100 million will be allocated to respond to the severe crisis caused by the violent conflict in South Sudan. The remaining €65 million, is planned to respond to the serious droughts in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

In 2011 Mr Deva helped coordinate emergency relief efforts to stave off famine in Somalia, mobilising the International Food Assistance Convention with the support of the Barroso Commission and helping provide €1.5 billion of food aid.

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