Finland to send €16 million in aid to Horn of Africa

More than 20 million people are in need of food aid in the region due to climate change-driven ‘record-breaking’ droughts.

Finland will be allocating some 15.7 million euros in assistance to support grain shipments to the Horn of Africa. The decision was announced in a press release(siirryt toiseen palveluun) published by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

The assistance will be delivered by the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR), the Finnish Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the release notes. Some seven million euros of the sum will be channelled through the World Food Programme’s (WFP) efforts to ensure the transportation of Ukrainian grain to Somalia.

Food security has been severely (siirryt toiseen palveluun)compromised in the Horn of Africa due to ‘record-breaking’ droughts which have resulted in more than 20 million people needing aid to meet their nutritional needs, according to the release.

Five consecutive disappointing rainy seasons have also meant that the region is dependent on grain imports, which have suffered major disruptions due to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has deteriorated access to food and raised prices. The COVID-19 pandemic and, in some places, the effects of climate change hinder access to food, too,” the press release reads.

In addition to grain transport, Finland’s financial assistance will also support the provision of other types of humanitarian aid.

“Our humanitarian assistance will make it possible to give people shelter, clean water and health services. There is a pressing shortage of them both in the region’s communities and in the refugee camps,” Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari said in the release.

Some 3.5 million refugees live in refugee camps in the region, the report adds.

The Foreign Ministry said that humanitarian aid was “one of the most concrete ways of responding to crises and disasters” as it announced a ‘historic’ total of 115 million euros(siirryt toiseen palveluun) in 2020.

Ukraine has now become one of the largest recipients of Finnish aid both from the government and NGOs. The Finnish Red Cross recently donated some 10 million euros(siirryt toiseen palveluun) to support vulnerable Ukrainians as well as around 700,000 euros to set up mobile health clinics in western Ukraine.

Wararka Caalamka

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