Irish Government to provide relief funding for the victims of the Algerian earthquake


The Minister of State with responsibility for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, Tom Kitt TD, today allocated €500,000 for emergency assistance to aid the victims of the earthquake which devastated northern Algeria on the 21st of May. This is the biggest earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale, to hit North African countries since 1980 and shocks were felt on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Current reports state that there are over 2,000 people dead, over 8100 wounded and some 1,136 other missing, mainly in Boumerdes and Algiers.

The Algerian Red Crescent (ARC) was quickly mobilised in the aftermath of the disaster, rescuing victims, administering first aid and transporting the injured to hospital. ARC teams are helping in the hospitals and distributing basic needs from disaster preparedness stocks. The ARC is part of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The Irish Government's assistance of €500,000 is in response to an emergency appeal by IFRC to assist 10,000-20,000 people for 3 months with food and non-food items, such as blankets and medical supplies. It will also contribute to an improvement in the capacity of the Algerian Red Crescent to respond to such disasters in the future, through the provision of first aid training, monitoring, reporting and disaster management.

In addition the Government has made a contribution €150,000 to the IFRC to aid relief efforts following the floods which began in Sri Lanka on Saturday May 17. This has been the most severe flood in Sri Lanka in more than 50 years. There are reports of over 255 people dead, with over 50,000 houses destroyed and over 175,000 families affected. Some 109,000 families are homeless. As with the emergency appeal in Algeria, the assistance of €150,000 will be part of a larger total fund, and will aid some 125,000 people for three months for food and non-food items.

Commenting on the emergency assistance packages, Minister of State Kitt said;

“In a time when so much attention has been focused on situation in Iraq and the Middle East, it is crucial that we do not lose sight of the fact that devastating events are having a huge impact on the lives and livelihoods of people in other parts of the world, people who desperately need assistance. I have every confidence that, despite of the difficult challenges, the Red Cross will deliver the best available care and relief.”

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