Government Boosts African Humanitarian Aid
29 May 2017 at 1:27 pm
The Campaign for Australian Aid has welcomed a federal government move to provide an additional $19.3 million in humanitarian assistance to people at risk of starvation in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya.
The Campaign for Australian Aid is a joint initiative of the Make Poverty History and Micah Australia coalitions. It represents more than 65 aid and development organisations, church, business and community groups.
“We’ve seen the government strip the aid budget to its bare bones recently and have been campaigning for more funding towards what is the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II,” director for the Campaign for Australian Aid, Tony Milne said.
“We want to thank the 31,176 people who have signed our petition to [foreign minister] Julie Bishop to increase aid for East Africa’s deadly famine by at least $20 million, and we acknowledge Julie Bishop for responding.
“While we welcome this much needed contribution and our government in recognising that the potential of an entire generation is at risk, more needs to be done to avert a humanitarian crisis, including in Yemen and Somalia.”
Bishop announced on Monday the new funding would bring Australia’s contribution towards the international response to conflict, drought and famine in Africa to approximately $68 million since July 2016.
“More than 5.8 million people in South Sudan are in need of assistance due to conflict and acute food shortages. Australia will provide support through the International Committee of the Red Cross and the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund to help meet the food, health and protection needs of these people,” Bishop said.
“Australia’s funding to Uganda and Ethiopia will help these countries work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to meet the humanitarian needs of more than 800,000 South Sudanese refugees and others fleeing conflict in the region. Our funding will also support longer term education and livelihood opportunities for refugees and their host communities.
“Our assistance will also help the World Food Program and Red Cross meet the needs of over seven million people at risk of starvation in northeast Nigeria due to ongoing conflict and drought, including 1.4 million acutely malnourished children.
“In Kenya, Australia’s funding through UNICEF will help to address the food and water needs of more than 2.7 million people who are affected by drought and have fled conflict in neighbouring countries.”
Bishop said the new package of assistance supplemented Australia’s regular funding to United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund and humanitarian organisations to respond to humanitarian crises globally, including in Africa.
Milne said that with such crises taking place around the world, the government continued to raid the Australian aid budget with a further $303.3 million to be cut over the next four years.
“We must continue to raise our voices and do whatever we can to ensure everyone has an equal right to living a happy and healthy life. No one in Australia or in our world should live in poverty when we have the resources to ensure everyone can flourish,” Milne said.