Dáil Éireann - Volume 565 - 09 April, 2003
Written Answers. - Humanitarian Aid.
Mr. Cuffe Mr. Cuffe
58. Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the Government's humanitarian assistance to Iraq since the outbreak of conflict; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10115/03]
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
114. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which the Government intends to assist in the humanitarian aid programme in Iraq; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9931/03]
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
175. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his objectives in regard to the humanitarian aid programme for Iraq; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10263/03]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): I propose to answer Questions Nos. 58, 114 and 175 together.
The Government acted quickly in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. On 25 March, I announced a significant emergency humanitarian funding package of €5 million for Iraq, with a particular emphasis on the needs of women and children. These funds will be delivered through international humanitarian agencies and NGOs with a proven record and capacity to deliver aid effectively and impartially. The key objectives of this assistance are to provide for the immediate needs of the most vulnerable Iraqis. The focus will be on food distribution, shelter, emergency health interventions, water and sanitation.
 In addition to this latest package, the Government has also already made significant contributions to UNICEF and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, for their global operations. In 2003 these contributions have come to almost €15 million. This funding has been ear-marked, thus giving these humanitarian organisations the flexibility and the fast delivery which can improve effectiveness and save more lives. In addition, I have approved funding of €500,000 in support of start-up costs of key Irish NGOs. This will now enable them to respond to major humanitarian emergencies, such as Iraq, in a more effective and timely manner.
As the situation in Iraq unfolds, Ireland will work as part of a concerted international humanitarian effort involving the United Nations, the European Union and NGOs to alleviate the effects of suffering on the most vulnerable Iraqi people.
Dáil Éireann 565 Written Answers. Humanitarian Aid.