The federal Government’s allocation of $29 million to alleviate the impact of famine and conflict in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East will save lives and ease the impact of malnutrition, the Help Fight Famine campaign coalition said today.
Australia will contribute $29 million from the Humanitarian Emergency Fund to partners in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, including:
- $15 million to address increased humanitarian, displacement and protection needs of people in drought-affected areas in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
- $4 million to provide food and nutrition support to the most vulnerable in Yemen.
- $10 million for food and monetary assistance to refugees and vulnerable populations in Lebanon and Jordan.
Today’s commitment is additional to the $40 million allocated to famine relief in the 2022-23 Budget.
The decision has been strongly endorsed by campaign spokesperson, Reverend Tim Costello.
“Help Fight Famine strongly endorses this decision from Foreign Minister Penny Wong and the Albanese Government. When combined with previous commitments, Australia has now made a decent contribution to the global famine response. Australian efforts will alleviate suffering and prevent deaths.
“Of course with more we can do more. We fully acknowledge Australia’s efforts and will continue making the case for Australia to invest in creating a stronger, safer world for all.”
The recent Global Report on Food Crises led by the Food Security Information Network reported that 258 million people across 58 countries are now experiencing acute hunger, meaning their life or livelihood is in danger. That is an additional 65 million people since last year.
In the Horn of Africa, the situation is especially dire. According to the World Food Programme, 90 per cent of the Somalian population are battling “insufficient food consumption.” Among children under five, 11.8 per cent are suffering acute malnutrition and 27.8 per cent have chronic malnutrition.
The sudden onset of conflict in Sudan in April 2023, the mass movement of people fleeing that conflict and risk of disruption to agriculture in the Nile River are likely to make this situation even more dire.
In March, Help Fight Famine released polling found strong and growing support for Australia’s aid effort. The YouGov survey found that even with a raging cost of living crisis, a growing majority of Australian voters, 60 percent, support the Australian government funding overseas aid to developing countries. That increased from 52 per cent in 2019 and 57 per cent in 2021.
Help Fight Famine spokesperson and Oxfam Australia CEO, Lyn Morgain said Australians understood the benefit of investing for a fairer world.
“Overlapping challenges and crises are making the world more dangerous and the global hunger crisis is one of the clearest examples. The impact of extreme weather is made worse by global warming and exacerbated even further by shocks such as the invasion of Ukraine or the pandemic.
“While we can’t precisely predict the next crisis, we know that it will come. To prevent full-blown catastrophes it is prudent and essential for Australia to invest in a fairer and safer world. This is not just right, it is also smart.”