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Famine

Drought in East Africa – Federal Minister Müller calls for global crisis fund


Drought in East Africa

Press release of 24.02.2017 |

In 2017, the German Development Ministry will be providing 100 million euros to assist East African countries in their fight against droughts and famines. Since climate change has increased the frequency of weather-related droughts, German development policy, in addition to providing immediate food aid through the World Food Programme, is also aimed at protecting people against droughts in the long term.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller said, "Merely reacting to events is not enough. When aid is actually disbursed, it is often too late. We must empower the United Nations to take a proactive approach to crises. For this, we urgently need a global crisis fund of 10 billion US dollars that can quickly provide funding to relief organisations. The EU, too, needs a new civilian crisis concept, with more permanent white helmet and emergency organisations."

Thanks to German support, 100 million poor people in developing countries already benefit from insurance products against climate risks such as droughts, floods and heavy winds. A new German G7 initiative will increase this number by another 400 million by 2020. Climate risk insurance is effective. During periods of severe drought in Mauretania, Niger and Senegal in 2015, more than one million people received support and fodder for some 500,000 animals.

Gerd Müller emphasised, "We need to ensure that people are protected from the consequences of drought in the long term, through climate risk insurance, modern irrigation methods in agriculture and the use of drought-resistant seeds. Germany is a forerunner here."

For instance, ever since the last drought in 2011, the Development Ministry has consistently focused its cooperation with Ethiopia on improving the population's resilience to droughts. One of the initiatives was to set up a green innovation centre to advise smallholders and support them in using modern farming methods. Water-saving drip irrigation techniques and drought resilient seeds are used to dampen the impact of weather phenomena such as El Niño, which has led to the current drought in Ethiopia.

Famines are not only caused by droughts but also by wars, conflict and terrorism, like in South Sudan. Here, too, Germany, continues to run development policy projects, without involving the government and placing a special focus on projects that directly benefit local people in need. The aim is to improve water and food supply and enhance agricultural production. With German support, ninety thousand people in the poorest areas of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, will have access to clean drinking water.

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