The large number of refugee camps in Ethiopia shows how many breaking points there are in this region that force people to leave their country. As an immediate response to this humanitarian emergency, the Federal Government is providing a total of 3 million euros from the Foreign Disaster Fund to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region. This payment will be decided by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday at the request of Federal Chancellor Kurz, Vice-Chancellor Kogler and Foreign Minister Schallenberg. Of this, one million euros is going to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), one million euros to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and one million euros to Austrian NGOs working on the ground.
"Ethiopia has been a priority country of Austrian Development Cooperation for almost 30 years. In the spirit of our humanitarian tradition, people can rely on our rapid aid even in the current difficult situation," emphasises Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
"A plague of locusts, the Corona pandemic and the Tigray conflict are hitting the people of Ethiopia hard. Improving the humanitarian situation in Tigray is doubly important: to alleviate the plight of the population and to stabilise the region. As neutrals, the International Red Cross and the UN World Food Programme are ideal supporters of this initiative. Austrian NGOs have many years of experience in the country. The 3 million euros in humanitarian aid for Ethiopia will only be possible because the Federal Government is quadrupling the FDF funds," says Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler.
The outbreak of the ethnic conflict in the northernmost region of Tigray in November 2020 is dramatically exacerbating the already precarious situation. Just last week, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg was in Ethiopia and visited a World Food Programme refugee camp in the Afar region, for instance, to see the situation for himself.
"The large number of refugee camps in Ethiopia shows how many breaking points there are in this region that force people to leave their country. It is all the more important that Austria and the international community continue to help," assures Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
"Our partners in development cooperation on the ground are providing great help on-site."
Even before the conflict broke out, around one million people in the north of the country were dependent on humanitarian aid. Since the outbreak of the crisis, this number has more than doubled to 2.3 million people, while more than 50,000 people have had to flee to neighbouring Sudan. There is, in particular, a lack of shelter, food and access to drinking water and sanitation in the region.
The United Nations indicates that 20 million people in Ethiopia are currently in urgent need of humanitarian aid, and 14 million are in acute need of food or are considered chronically undernourished according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). In addition, according to the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) report, the country has 800,000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.