Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today (7 August) issued the following statement regarding the situation in the Horn of Africa:
“The famine and the humanitarian disaster in the Horn of Africa have shocked and appalled me. Every day thousands of people from Somalia arrive at the refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia seeking food and water to escape the drought. In many of these camps the humanitarian situation is truly dreadful.
We want to help make life easier for the large number of refugees. Therefore, the German Government is sending a team from the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) to the region to help build refugee camps in Ethiopia.
I am delighted with the Germans’ great willingness to donate. This shows the great sympathy the German people feel for those affected by this disaster.”
On 30 July, the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) sent an advance team to Ethiopia. The agency is planning a longer mission in the country to support the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in establishing and running the Dolo Ado refugee camp.
The THW’s Standing Engineering Capacity (SEC) is an operative unit which is able to provide quick and targeted technical and logistical support in the construction of camps focusing on infrastructure, sanitation and water supply. The Federal Foreign Office is making available more than one million euro for this project.
Ambassador Walter Lindner, Director-General for African Affairs at the Federal Foreign Office, will be travelling to the region at the end of next week to hold political talks in various African countries including Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya on Foreign Minister Westerwelle’s behalf. He will also visit the Dadaab refugee camp on the border between Kenya and Somalia, where at the moment there are about 450,000 people – mainly from Somalia. In addition, Ambassador Lindner will accompany Dirk Niebel, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, on his planned trip to Kenya.
The humanitarian situation in large swathes of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia has further deteriorated in recent weeks. The ongoing drought has caused crops to fail and food prices to rise, triggering shortages for many parts of the population. Having officially declared a famine in two provinces of Southern Somalia on 20 July, on 3 August the United Nations added another three Southern Somali regions to the list. In Somalia the crisis is amplified by political instability and the consequences of the civil war, which has caused a growing number of refugees to flee to neighbouring countries.
In 2011 the Federal Foreign Office has already provided 9.6 million euro in humanitarian aid for the Horn of Africa. Currently, the German Government’s total humanitarian aid for the region affected stands at 33.5 million euro.
The European Commission increased its pledges by 60 million euro, bringing aid to a total of 160 million euro. Germany made a contribution of about 32 million euro to this amount.