Switzerland increases its aid to the Horn of Africa

Bern, Press release, 18.07.2011

The Humanitarian Aid of the Confederation unlocks an additional credit of CHF 4.5 million to support the populations affected by the food crisis in the Horn of Africa. This amount will be used to help refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya and to assist the most vulnerable populations in Somalia.

The extremely serious food crisis confronting the countries of the Horn of Africa, which is exacerbated by the dysfunction of structures in Somalia, is currently affecting nearly 11 million people. According to experts, this figure is expected to rise. Children are the most affected. Many UN agencies and NGOs are working to ensure the supply of food and drinking water to refugees and displaced persons.   

The Confederation's Humanitarian Aid has decided to allocate CHF 4.5 million to provide additional assistance to the affected regions. These funds will strengthen its support to refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya and will provide emergency assistance to the most affected people in Somalia.

Switzerland has contributed nearly CHF 14 million in assistance to the Horn of Africa since the beginning of this year. Switzerland's humanitarian aid efforts are focused on the regions most affected by drought and on assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons.  

Numerous projects have been supported through a network of partner organisations (UNHCR, ICRC, WFP and Swiss and international NGOs). The goal of these projects is on the one hand to enable local populations to become more resilient in crisis situations through measures such as the restoration of wells and irrigation networks and the vaccination of the livestock of nomadic populations and, on the other hand, to provide emergency assistance (food, drinking water and health care). In addition, several experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) are working on water, construction and food security projects in the region. 

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been active in the Horn of Africa since the 1990s. The SDC's regional office in Nairobi and its office in Addis Ababa coordinate Swiss humanitarian aid activities in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea and Djibouti. In 2007, following the resumption of hostilities in Somalia, Humanitarian Aid increased its commitment in Somalia and in neighbouring countries. In 2009, Swiss support to this region reached CHF 17 million in response to the food crisis.  

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