Vienna, 28 September 2006 - Large areas of Ethiopia are flooded following heavy rainfalls in July and August. The Austrian Development Cooperation, which has been carrying out development projects in the north of the country for many years, is now providing 200,000 euros as emergency aid for the flood victims. This money will be used by the Ethiopian Red Cross for the distribution of food and household goods, for the preparation of drinking water, and for the prevention of diseases. "Thousands of lives are threatened by the consequences of the flood," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik. "This is why we must help quickly," she added.
After heavy rainfalls lasting for weeks, floods are now hitting numerous regions in all parts of Ethiopia, from the periphery in the north-east to the south-eastern part of the country. To date, 650 persons have died, thousands of homes have been destroyed, and livestock and arable land have been lost. According to an appeal for aid by the Ethiopian government, a total of 200,000 people are affected by the flooding, and another 517,000 are considered to be in danger. The exact extent of the damage cannot yet be established, as the rainfalls are unlikely to stop before the end of September. "In view of this dramatic situation the Austrian Development Cooperation is immediately earmarking 200,000 euros. We are making this swift and concrete contribution in order to help the people in need in this humanitarian crisis situation directly and without red tape," emphasised Plassnik.
The funds will be used by the Ethiopian Red Cross for emergency aid in the region of Amhara in northern Ethiopia, where the Austrian Development Cooperation has invested for years in projects for agricultural development and nutritional safety. About 38,000 people living in this region have lost their homes and livelihoods due to the floods. Measures such as the distribution of important household goods, the preparation of drinking water, the renovation of destroyed wells and the provision of information on necessary hygienic measures are to prevent the outbreak of diseases and to safeguard the survival of the people.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
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