Vienna – Despite significant international support, there is no end in sight to the humanitarian crisis in East Africa. This leads to strong migration pressures in the African Mediterranean countries. For this reason, the Austrian Federal Government is providing €5 million from the Foreign Disaster Fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to alleviate the suffering of people in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tunisia.
Africa is a continent full of opportunities that must be exploited and developed within the framework of a strong partnership between Africa and Europe. Strengthening this partnership is also the goal of the two-day EU summit in Brussels yesterday and today. Europe is directly affected by developments in Africa and therefore has a geostrategic interest in the security and stability of the neighboring continent. I am pleased that due to the acute humanitarian situation in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tunisia, the Austrian Government is providing a total of €5 million from the Aga Khan Foundation for Humanitarian Aid, thus contributing to the improvement of the situation on the ground. . “
Chancellor Karl Nehamer said.
The conflict in the northern Tigray region has led to a further dramatic deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced as they flee, and there is a shortage of food and medicine. Austria has been supporting Ethiopia as a priority country for Austrian development cooperation for nearly 30 years – until now local people can count on help from Austria.
The situation in neighboring South Sudan, which is also marked by serious conflicts, which was supported by Austria with about one million euros in December 2021, is also tragic: 1.7 million people are internally displaced, half of whom lack access to basic goods. Like food and water cut off. The floods spread disease and strained the fragile health care system to the limit.
These and other trouble spots in North and East Africa led to significant migration pressures in Tunisia on the African coast of the Mediterranean – in 2021 the country again received tens of thousands of refugees from Libya, but also from Sudan and Chad. More than half of the refugees are women and girls, who are in dire need of food, medical care and psychosocial care.
The fate of Europe is closely linked to the future of Africa. Austria’s humanitarian aid in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Tunisia is a sign of solidarity and provides important support to people in need on the neighboring continent. Hence, Austria contributes to the important work of international organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler explains.
Of the €5 million, €2 million will go to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Food Program (WFP) in Ethiopia, €1 million to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in South Sudan and another million, respectively, to UNHCR. The United Nations Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration in Tunisia.
These countries have been affected by natural disasters, famine, armed conflicts and refugee movements for years. The humanitarian situation is catastrophic, and the pandemic has exacerbated the situation. In the Horn of Africa in particular, there is a risk of wildfires breaking out if the international community does not succeed in stabilizing the situation in Ethiopia.”
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said.
The German government’s decision comes on the occasion of the European Union and African Union summit, at which the leaders of Africa and Europe met yesterday and today in Brussels to set common priorities for the future.
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