SP development spokesman urges minister to step up food aid to Horn of Africa

23 July 2008

SP development spokesman urges minister to step up food aid to Horn of Africa

SP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang today urged Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders to provide additional funds in the face of the threat of catastrophic food shortages in the Horn of Africa. If nothing is done, and quickly, a disaster will unfold which will make the famine of the early 1990s, in which hundreds of thousands died, pale in comparison. “In April the Netherlands pledged €8 million to the UN's World Food Programme, but as things have turned out this isn't enough," says Irrgang. "I'm calling on the minister to do all in his power to persuade other EU countries to step up aid, as well as doing so himself."

Ewout IrrgangThe UN recently announced that more than fourteen million people in the Horn of Africa are dependent on food distribution and other forms of aid. The crisis is particularly severe in Ethiopia and Somalia, but also affects neighbouring countries such as Eritrea, Kenya en Djibouti. Standing idly by is not an option in Irrgang's view. The Netherlands must offer the Horn of Africa as much support as it can.

The SP development spokesman has at the same time asked Koenders whether a replacement will be provided for the Dutch frigate which protected the World Food Programme's ship from piracy. "The ship has since been withdrawn, and the minister recently stated that possible protection should be sought from within the EU. Given the threatened catastrophe this needs to be sorted out quickly so that ships carrying food aid can sail as soon as they are loaded up."

You are here