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Update on Horn of Africa situation

Published on September 7, 2011
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Spokesman

Paris, September 5, 2011

While the famine in the Horn of Africa is worsening, France is continuing to take concerted action.

France announced on 1 August that she would triple her bilateral emergency assistance, increasing funding from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to €30 million. €10 million was already paid to the major specialist NGOs and international organizations at the end of July. €17 million will be earmarked for emergency measures implemented by these same stakeholders and the French Red Cross.

This mainly relates to emergency food assistance, hygiene kits, equipment to provide access to water and medical assistance. In cooperation with the Agriculture Ministry, €3 million will earmarked for efforts to restart agricultural and livestock production in the regions affected by the drought, in preparation for the rainy season, which begins at the start of October.

A French vessel, the MN Eider, chartered by the Defence Ministry, carrying 381 tonnes of foodstuffs, left the port of Toulon as planned on 1 September. It will reach Djibouti by mid-September. This operation is the result of excellent cooperation between numerous national partners who have played an active role alongside the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

The cargo consists of donations of wheat flour, vegetable oil and sugar from several companies, such as Grands Moulins de Paris, Grands Moulins de France, Lesieur, Cristal Union and Tereos. Rice was donated by the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region. This vessel is also transporting donations collected by the voluntary organization France Afrik Terre 2 Kultur, based in Villiers-sur-Marne (Val-de-Marne).

The humanitarian aid will be given to the World Food Programme (WFP) for delivery to the recipient populations in Somalia and other countries in the region. These foodstuffs will make it possible to feed approximately 12,000 people for six months.

Furthermore, French companies are continuing to be spurred into action. Lesieur, in cooperation with the crisis centre, has just launched a national advertising campaign using all forms of audiovisual media under the theme “for every bottle purchased, one bottle will be donated to the Horn of Africa”.

As part of these initiatives, France is also mobilizing the human and logistical resources of the sécurité civile [emergency services] (Ministry of the Interior), the crisis centre (Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs) and the Defence Ministry. The last of these protects, among other things, WFP convoys from piracy off the coast of Somalia, thanks to the French navy vessels involved in Operation Atalanta to combat piracy./.

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