Delays in state aid for famine areas criticised

STATE cash for famine and drought relief is taking longer to obtain because of the amount of aid being pumped into the former Yugoslavia and the public spending squeeze, charities say.

Their claims are borne out by a report into emergency relief from the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) published today by the National Audit Office, the public spending watchdog.

The ODA, says the report, reacts quickly to sudden disasters like earthquakes and cyclones 'but take longer to satisfy themselves about the needs of slow-onset disasters' like famine and drought.

June Wyer, the co-financing officer for Christian Aid, said an application to the ODA for sums under pounds 50,000 were still taking one to two weeks but larger sums were taking several months.

In August, Christian Aid asked for pounds 100,000 to finance the restocking of livestock for refugees returning to Eritrea from Sudan. Usually, permission would be given within two months. Now, the charity did not expect to obtain approval until the new year. Another Christian Aid application, to assist refugees returning to Mozambique, was also predicted to take several months.

Ms Wyer said Yugoslavia now accounts for the same amount of aid as the whole of Africa combined. By refusing to grant more money to cover Yugoslavia, she claimed, the Treasury was causing other parts of the world to suffer.

This financial year, the ODA will give pounds 172m to Yugoslavia, and has been forced to drain its reserves.

An ODA source acknowledged yesterday: 'Maybe we are applying stricter criteria on some grants - Yugoslavia has put all our budget under pressure.'

Instances uncovered by the NAO include:

The ODA taking 142 days to approve a request from Save the Children to provide household items, tools and vehicles for the Angolan drought;

An ODA initial response time of up to 62 days;

A cargo of lentils taking 13 months to reach Eritrea;

Trucks taking up to nine months to be delivered to Ethiopia;

400 tonnes of ODA-financed vegetable oil packed in plastic containers - as opposed to tin drums - which leaked as they sat in the Ethiopian heat.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee