Switzerland approves additional aid for hunger victims in the Horn of Africa

Berne, 17.08.2011 - Switzerland is increasing its humanitarian aid for those affected by the current hunger crisis afflicting the Horn of Africa. The Federal Council today approved additional aid of CHF 20 million. This will be used above all for the benefit of the population in southern Somalia, malnourished children in the Dadaab refugee camp, and the host communities in northern Kenya.

The hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa is taking on devastating proportions. The situation in southern Somalia is worst of all: faminine has already been declared by the UN in four areas, and continues to spread. According to the UN the number of people in need of emergency aid currently stands at well over 12 million. Alongside Somalia, the regions affected include southern Ethiopia, northern Kenya and Djibouti in particular. Two million children are acutely malnourished, over 500,000 are facing death.

As a result of these developments the Federal Council today approved additional Swiss aid of CHF 20 million which will be used in particular:

· to ensure the survival of malnourished children in the Dadaab refugee camp, the host communities in northern Kenya and the population of southern Somalia;

· to provide young refugees in the Dadaab refugee camp with an education and hope for the future;

· to provide assistance to the needy in host communities in order to reduce tensions in north Kenya between host communities and refugees. 

The President of the Swiss Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), visited the Dadaab refugee camp at the beginning of August 2011 to gain an impression of the current situation at first hand and evaluate the possibilities for additional Swiss aid. Since the end of July 2011, a rapid response team of Swiss Humanitarian Aid (SHA) has been in action to monitor the situation and implement aid plans.

In addition to the urgently needed emergency aid, Switzerland is placing the emphasis on immediate investment in agriculture and livestock in the affected regions. In doing so it is following the approach taken by the UN and the international donor community to promote the reconstruction of the agricultural sector with a view to preventing the recurrence of this type of crisis. 

Switzerland has been contributing emergency aid to the Horn of Africa since the nineties; in the current year the Confederation's humanitarian aid has so far amounted to a total of CHF 19 million. On top of this six SHA experts are on secondment with UN agencies.  

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