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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Germany doubles Horn of Africa drought relief after criticism

Berlin more than doubled its relief aid Saturday for people fleeing drought in the Horn of Africa, one day after United Nations figures showed Germany had contributed only a fraction of the aid given by countries such as Japan and Canada.

The government pledged a further 5 million euros (7 million dollars) in relief to the region where aid agencies estimated 10 million people are at risk of starvation. It also appealed to Germans to donate. The ministries of aid and foreign affairs said the government grant would be distributed among German and international relief groups and the UN World Food Programme (WFP). The ministries said earlier humanitarian relief pledges during 2011 for the Horn of Africa had totalled 3.6 million euros. The new pledge will raise the relief so far to 8.6 million euros.

Data released Friday by the WFP in the Kenyan capital Nairobi showed that Germany had only given it 1.4 million dollars so far this year, compared to Japan, which gave 25 million dollars or Canada (22 million dollars). The Aid Ministry had initially rejected the implied criticism, saying Friday that it was 'comprehensively engaged' in rural development in the Horn of Africa region. Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Kenya on Tuesday and announced 1 million euros in relief for refugee camps, of which half was earmarked for the WFP, according to WFP Germany director Ralf Suedhoff.