Vienna, 2 October 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: "Austria helps people in need in the Sahel"

Vice-Chancellor announces increase of humanitarian aid for the Sahel

Vienna, 2 October 2012 – Austria is making another substantial contribution to alleviating the severe humanitarian crisis in the Sahel. “We are providing one million euros to respond to the continued difficult humanitarian situation caused by the long drought and the floods that followed it. These extreme environmental conditions are aggravated by the armed conflict in the north of Mali that has triggered massive movements of refugees in the region”, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on 18 September after the respective resolution had been passed by the Ministerial Council.

According to the Vice-Chancellor 500,000 euros from the Funds for Foreign Disaster Reliefwill go to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); the money is earmarked for the provision of basic supplies to the people in need in Mali. The ICRC is one of the few organisations that still have access to the north of Mali. The Austrian Development Agency ADA is going to provide 500,000 euros for projects of Austrian NGOs focusing on food security and refugee aid in Burkina Faso, one of the priority countries of Austrian development cooperation.  

1 million euros from the Funds for Foreign Disaster Relief and 700,000 euros of food aid of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management have already been provided this year to support suffering civilians in the Sahel.  

“The humanitarian situation in the Sahel has not changed and is still a pressing problem. The mere fact that one million little children are faced with shortage of food must be enough to jolt us all into action”, Spindelegger said. According to estimates of the European Commission, the loss in the production of food in the region amounts to 2.5 million tons. The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF assumes that more than 18 million people are affected by moderate to acute food shortage.

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