Crises in East Africa and Yemen: Austria Supports Affected Regions

Middle EastYemen ♦ Published: October 20, 2022; 10:45 ♦ (Vindobona)

In order to support states that have been hit particularly hard by national or international conflicts as well as by natural disasters and climate change, the Austrian Federal Government made 8 million euros available from the Foreign Disaster Fund. The money will go to organisations that are active in Yemen and East Africa.

Yemen and East African states receive 8 million euros from the AKF of the Austrian Foreign Ministry. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons /Africa Food Security 3 /Kate Holt/AusAID / CC BY 2.0

The war in Ukraine pushed a large part of the world into an uncertain future. Regions of the world already suffering from the effects of climate change, natural disasters, armed conflicts and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic now fear for their food security because of Russian President Putin's cynical way of using food as a weapon.

Yemen and East African countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda and Mozambique have been hit particularly hard. Austria wants to lend a helping hand to these hit countries and is providing 8 million euros from the Foreign Ministry's Foreign Disaster Fund (AKF).

"The prolonged droughts, the armed conflicts and not least the food shortages in parts of East Africa and Yemen resulting from the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine are a humanitarian catastrophe," said Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

Ethiopia is currently experiencing one of the worst famines. In addition, Ethiopia is providing shelter to hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries.

There are more than four million internally displaced persons in the country on the Horn of Africa, who have fled the bloody conflict in the Tigray region, among other things. The situation is similarly dramatic in Uganda, which hosts the most refugees on the African continent: about 16 million people are dependent on humanitarian aid.

In Mozambique, one of the countries most affected by natural disasters worldwide, there are floods and cyclones with massive consequences, such as crop failures, weather-related displacement and insufficient drinking water.

Yemen is facing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world - more than 80 percent of the population is dependent on humanitarian aid. In order to ensure access to drinking water, food and sanitary facilities as well as to health care for internally displaced persons, Austria relies on the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Despite the considerable security risk and impediments to its work, the organisation continues to provide humanitarian support and vital emergency aid.

"In East Africa and Yemen, the consequences of the climate crisis are already causing humanitarian disasters: Drought and years of drought, rural exodus and wars triggered by resource scarcity are leading to thousands of deaths, malnourished and starving children, millions of refugees, powerless leaders and hardships for international aid agencies that are running out of funds. With the 8 million euros in humanitarian aid for Yemen, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Uganda, we want to alleviate the worst hardship for some of those affected. With this aid, Austria is also securing existing aid programmes of the UNHCR, the Red Cross and Care," said Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler.

4 million euros will be made available to the ICRC for Yemen, 1 million euros each will go to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and to Austrian non-governmental organisations in Ethiopia, and 500,000 euros each to UNHCR and to Austrian non-governmental organisations in Uganda and Mozambique. This will provide emergency aid to meet the vital needs of internally displaced persons and refugees close to home.

"The region has been caught in a never-ending downward spiral for years, and the humanitarian situation is correspondingly dramatic. Putin's cynical war, using food as a weapon, is further fuelling the dramatic situation. We are helping where it is needed most: directly on the ground," Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg concludes

BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs