Madrid – Spain has increased by almost 6 million euros ($8.5 million) the emergency aid it is allocating to help ameliorate the serious food crisis in the Horn of Africa and it appealed to the international community to follow its lead in dealing with a crisis that "will be a very long one."
"We're going to be above the 25 million euros ($35.6 million) that we had scheduled to contribute," the secretary of state for International Cooperation, Soraya Rodriguez, said.
"This crisis is going to be a long one and it obligates us to maintain the aid. It's a food emergency," she said after presiding at a meeting among the NGOs who are working in the affected area.
The additional 6 million euros will be destined for UNICEF and the U.N. Refugee Agency.
"The biggest problem at this time in Somalia is access (to the aid), we have to keep focusing our efforts on getting access to the population inside (Somalia), to halt the flow of refugees" to camps in neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya, Rodriguez said.
She said that the NGOs had discussed with her the "enormous difficulties" they are having in attending to the population inside Somalia, adding that the government is analyzing all the possibilities there are to open up stable corridors, noting that the situation is "a true emergency and priority at this time."
The secretary said that the international community "is responding" but she believes that a greater commitment by the governments is needed "because right now it's about saving lives."