GMN- Caamsaa 17/2021! Waraanni Bilisummaa Oromoo WBO’n Zoonilee addaa addaa waraana PP haleeleen 286 ol ajjeesuun 229 ol madeessuun beekame!
Via: Gadaa Media Network – GMN
The time to act is now! Germany’s humanitarian assistance efforts in the light of current challenges
When I started my term as German Ambassador to Ethiopia last summer, the country already faced an extremely difficult humanitarian situation. The COVID-19 pandemic, desert locusts and flooding had increased needs in wide parts of the country and the region. The conflict in Tigray has dramatically added to those challenges. At least 4.5 million people in Tigray are believed to require food assistance, and many of them do not yet have access to humanitarian aid. Warnings of a looming famine have to be taken very seriously. Unless the farmers in Tigray are able to till their fields before the rainy season, the region may face a hunger crisis reminiscent of the 1980s.
Since the very beginning of the crisis, Germany, alongside the European Union (EU) and other large donors and partners from the humanitarian community, has asked for unfettered humanitarian access and for protection of civilians. We will continue to do so. At the same time, we have immediately and significantly ramped up our humanitarian efforts. In November 2020, Germany swiftly allocated another 6 million USD to the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund to respond to the crisis. We have added another 10 million USD for that purpose this year. Last year, we were the largest donor to the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund. Overall, Germany spent more than 40 million USD on humanitarian assistance for Ethiopia in 2020, and we intend to further increase our contributions this year.
Our goal is clear: we want to contribute to saving lives and alleviating acute suffering in Tigray and beyond, so that no one is left behind. The situation on the ground remains volatile and difficult. But humanitarian partners, be it the United Nations (UN) or NGOs, have proven in the past and in other countries that they can deal with the most challenging circumstances. We can best support them by providing the necessary financial resources, doing all that we can to protect them, and enabling them to reach all those in need, in close cooperation with the Ethiopian government. I want to acknowledge the government’s considerable efforts and the progress it has achieved, for example when it comes to humanitarian access, independent investigations into alleged human rights abuses or war crimes, and the call for the withdrawal of Eritrean forces. However, the UN has issued a warning that the humanitarian situation on the ground is not improving. It is getting worse. Therefore, we need to jointly scale up our activities, and we need to improve civil-military coordination. Assaults on NGOs and their staff must be investigated.
Our humanitarian assistance for Ethiopia in 2021 will benefit people outside of Tigray, as well, as we provide our partners with the necessary flexibility to allocate funding to the regions and people most in need. We will be working with some 20 different partners, encompassing a variety of UN agencies and international NGOs. Sectors include food and nutrition, health, protection, shelter, and water and sanitation. For example, we support the World Food Programme (WFP) in its efforts to provide food assistance and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as it fights the desert locust upsurge. We also support Save the Children’s work to protect children, and Germany’s Welthungerhilfe as it provides emergency assistance and access to clean drinking water.
Globally, Germany is now the second largest humanitarian donor, with close to 2.5 billion USD allocated for humanitarian assistance in our budget for 2021. The amount has more than doubled in the past five years. Together with the EU, we provide approximately one quarter of global humanitarian funding. We are thereby helping people affected by crises around the world that are caused by conflict, natural disasters or epidemics. We see this is an integral part of our foreign policy and global responsibilities.
Delivery of humanitarian aid in any region of the world is based on the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. One key aspect is that assistance shall reach those people who are most in need, no matter where they reside. This is a big challenge, also with regard to the large number of internally displaced persons. However, I firmly believe that these guiding principles will be key for addressing current challenges in the country, particularly in Tigray. The time to act is now, and Germany stands ready to do its part alongside and in close cooperation with the Ethiopian government and international partners.