The Australian Council for International Development – ACFID – welcomes the announcement by the Minister for International Development Pat Conroy that Australia is committing $15 million to global efforts to combat looming famine in affected parts of the world.
ACFID Chief Executive Marc Purcell said: “The Albanese Government’s response to the hunger crisis is a great start on Labor’s stated commitment to being a responsible international citizen.
“With our attendance at the UN General Assembly this week, the Australian humanitarian assistance marks an opening up of our lens to refocus on regions outside our immediate neighbourhood, and a renewal of multilateral engagement,” said Mr. Purcell.
ACFID’s Humanitarian Advisor Natasha Chabbra, said: “We thank the government for taking humanitarian action in response to the need.
“However, the scale of multiple hunger crises – in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa – means we cannot stand still. The funding will be split: $5 million will be directed to the Emergency Action Alliance (EAA), a group of 15 Australian charities that collectively works to deliver disaster relief, and $10 million will go to the World Food Programme.
“The Government’s support for the Emergency Action Alliance to respond to the huger crisis, is particularly welcome, as this will direct enable NGOs to deliver the funding directly to local affected communities,” said Ms. Chabbra.
ACFID, along with partners in the Help Fight Famine campaign, has been calling on the Australian government to commit $150 million in next month’s Budget for life- saving relief to communities impacted by food insecurity.
“It is shocking that we are seeing the reemergence of global hunger, children becoming malnourished, and people at risk of starving to death in 2022. Australia as the 12th largest economy in the world, and we have a responsibility to continue to help lead action in preventing this global humanitarian crisis,” said Ms. Chabbra.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong is currently attending the UN General Assembly where hunger is a topic of discussion, on the main floor and in numerous sideline events.
Earlier this week, US President Joe Biden announced more than $US2.9 billion in new US assistance to address global food insecurity, on top of an existing $6.9 billion in funds already committed this year.
Famine is expected to be declared in Somalia in coming weeks or months, with an estimated 7.8 million people facing severe food shortages, with hundreds of thousands at immediate risk.
Fifty million people around the world are facing famine due to conflicts, climate change and COVID-19. Somalia will be the first place where famine will be officially declared, but it is not the only one, with other regions of the Horn of Africa, along with Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan also experiencing acute hunger.
A number of Australian international aid organisations have banded together to form the #HelpFightFamine campaign, which is a coordinated move to push the Australian government to commit $150 million towards famine relief in the October budget, and $200 million per annum ongoing invested in resilience and prevention. fightfamine.com.au