Good start but the EU’s response to African drought crisis is barely a “drop in the ocean”

Category: News

The EU is scaling-up its response to famine and drought in the Horn of Africa after Conservative development spokesman, Nirj Deva MEP, called for urgent action from the international community.


Mr Deva, Vice President of the European Parliament’s Development Committee, called on Christos Stylianides, the responsible commissioner, to act. Today she answered that call, announcing €165 million to help South Sudan, Somalia and neighbouring countries facing drought and famine. However according to estimates by the Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the United Nations, this commitment falls far short of the €4.4 billion the region needs by July.


Reacting to the announcement Mr Deva said: “I welcome the quick response from the European Commission, however, more must done. Unless €4.4 billion is raised by July then the suffering and starvation will be on an unprecedented scale, affecting 20 million people. This money is barely a drop in the ocean that the international community needs to raise.”


It is estimated that 4.6 million people in South Sudan, 4.7 million people in Nigeria, 1.7 million in Yemen and 6.2 million people in Somalia are at risk. The humanitarian response has fallen short in each country: Somalia has only received 21.3% of what they require, South Sudan only 17.6%, Yemen only 6.6% and Nigeria only 4.6%.


Mr Deva added: “The international community must act, this crisis is only becoming graver. The European Commission has answered my call, and these are good first steps, but the EU must do more. I will continue to push for international NGOs, the private sector and governments to use every resource available to them to prevent this growing catastrophe.”

From the European Commission’s aid package, €100 million will be allocated to respond to the severe crisis caused by the violent conflict in South Sudan. The remaining €65 million, is planned to respond to the serious droughts in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

In 2011 Mr Deva helped coordinate emergency relief efforts to stave off famine in Somalia, mobilising the International Food Assistance Convention with the support of the Barroso Commission and helping provide €1.5 billion of food aid.

Note to editors:
Christos Stylianides is the Commissioner for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

As just discussed by phone, here are our latest funding stats for the four countries against the 4.4 billion required (table on the right). Nigeria is a bit off because we are still pouring over the Oslo conference data. Of course, don’t hesitate to call on anything related to the four countries, funding from the EU and other sources as well as on helping to increase humanitarian access.

Best regards,
Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen
As of 13 March 2017 (17:00 GMT +1) – for internal use only

Humanitarian Response Plan requirements and funding per country

Funding for HRPs Funding for priority sectors within the HRPs**

(Food security, health, nutrition and WASH)

Country Requirements Funding % Requirements Funding %
Nigeria $1.05 B $48.6 M 4.6% $734.1 M $20.5 M 2.8%
Somalia* $863.5 M $183.8 M 21.3% $720 M $75.6 M 10.5%
South Sudan $1.64 B $289.1 M 17.6% $1.25 B $231.2 M 18.5%
Yemen $2.07 B $137.5 M 6.6% $1.70 B $102.5 M 6.0%
* The requirements for Somalia are currently being revised.

**The funding and percentage coverage for famine-related requirements for South Sudan and Somalia is currently estimated based on the full amount of funding for the priority sectors (pending further clarification). Funding figures for priority sectors in all countries may not include some flexible, unearmarked funding that has not yet been designated for specific sectors.

Source: Financial Tracking Service, 13 March 2017

Daniel Pfister | Deputy Chief of Staff | United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) I New York
Tel: +1 212 963 1335 | Mob: +1 917 310 89 13 | E-mail: | Skype: inic_dani | Twitter: @danielpfister
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