Vienna, 15 December 2011 – In mid-October, the Austrian Federal Government decided to increase immediate aid for the famine region in East Africa six-fold. In total, 8.5 million Euros is now available. Two million thereof will now be channelled through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) of the Austrian Development Cooperation, to the experienced humanitarian aid organisations CARE Austria, Caritas Austria, Light for the World, and Austrian Red Cross for emergency aid and effective long-term projects against famine and drought. Their priorities include food security, rural development, and medical care.
Two million Euros for Ethiopia and Kenya
“Austria is morally obliged to deliver aid at the Horn of Africa. Following the six-fold increase of the aid money to 8.5 million Euros a few weeks ago, we are now making two million Euros available for effective programmes and projects run by CARE Austria, Caritas Austria, Light for the World, and the Austrian Red Cross. Acting as our strong partners, these organisations make sure that the situation will improve in the near future for more than 70,000 people in Ethiopia and Kenya“, said Wolfgang Waldner, State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry.
“We trust in the valuable know-how acquired by Austrian aid organisations over decades, which guarantees for an effective and efficient use of the aid money. The objectives include long-term food security, improvements in agriculture and medical care, so as to create better living conditions for the people. Our efforts, however, also focus on better preparing the people in the region against famine periods in the future“, said Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer, Managing Director of the ADA, who is in charge of the selection of the projects.
Support over several months
In part, the new initiatives by CARE Austria, Caritas Austria, the Austrian Red Cross, and Light for the World are based on existing projects and were set up with a time horizon of one to one-and-a-half years.
CARE, for instance, focuses on safeguarding the means of existence for small farmer families and on strengthening women in the region of Oromia in Ethiopia. “The majority of people living there depend on agriculture. We support female farmers in particular by providing seeds, sheep, goats, and poultry, and also by conveying knowledge about productive economic management. Moreover, we make them more resistant against drought and crop failures“, says Andrea Wagner-Hager, Managing Director of CARE Austria.
Caritas Austria, too, supports the region of Oromia in Ethiopia. “Our programme operates in three phases. Following the emergency aid, which has already been completed and involved the distribution of food, we now aim at better preparing the people to cope with future disasters. For instance, by finding more adequate ways of storing the crops, by developing livestock farming, or by planting cereals. Another priority is the improvement of sanitary and hygiene standards,“ said Franz Küberl, the President of Caritas Austria.
Light for the World provides food aid and helps to improve medical care in the Somali region and in the Borana zone in Ethiopia. “We distribute medication and high-energy food to the semi-nomadic population in cooperation with two local partners. We provide aid above all to children and to pregnant and breast-feeding women, who are particularly weakened by hunger. We are also extremely focused on providing care to people with disabilities, who find it even more difficult to obtain the food they need to survive“, says Rupert Roninger, Managing Director of Light for the World.
The Red Cross operates in Mandera, in the Northeast of Kenya. “The farmers and livestock keepers have lost their means of existence as a result of many months of drought. Following an integrated approach, we work together with the farmers to restore agricultural production on a sustainable basis, and to take precautions against floods caused by erosion“, stresses Max Santner of the Austrian Red Cross.
The Austrian Development Cooperation
The Austrian Development Cooperation supports countries in Africa, Asia, Central America, and in South-Eastern and Eastern Europe toward a sustainable social, economic, and democratic development. The Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs is in charge of planning the corresponding strategies. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the agency of the Austrian Development Cooperation, is in charge of implementing programmes and projects in cooperation with public bodies, non-governmental organizations, and enterprises.
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