Development Minister Dirk Niebel made the announcement Monday on ZDF’s Morgenmagazin television show. The extra money comes as the European Union joins together to try to stem an impeding catastrophe threatening millions. So far the EU has pledged €160 million in famine aid.
It also comes in the face of strong criticism by aid groups, who have said the German government, and Germans in general, aren’t doing enough to bring relief to the troubled region, and particularly war-torn Somalia.
The United Nations has said that East Africa needs billions of dollars in aid in order to make any real impact. That number has hardly been approached yet. Relief agencies say this is East Africa’s worst famine in decades caused by drought and conflict.
Last week aid group federation Aktion Deutschland Hilft complained that Africa’s crises get scant attention, while the earthquake in Haiti attracted millions of euros in help after just a few days.
“The catastrophe in east Africa has been building up for a long time but because of a lack of publicity, and therefore missing financial means, the necessary measures could not be carried out sufficiently in the regions concerned,” the group said in a statement.
Somalia is particularly at threat by the current situation, with desperate people fleeing the rebel controlled south to the capital Mogadishu, where they end up in camps.