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Sunday, December 11, 2016
Aid programmes close worldwide as funds are diverted to Iraq
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¬†Christian Aid has put out a statement expressing its shock at the decision of the Department for International Development (DfID) to divert £100 million of aid money to Iraq. More than 21 countries will be affected, with DfID closing programmes in Peru, Honduras, Anguilla, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Macedonia and reducing spending for countries such as South Africa, Bolivia, Russia, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Albania, Kosovo and China. The cutting of funds to South Africa, which is gripped by an HIV/Aids crisis, and Bolivia, where there has been widespread political instability in recent weeks, has caused particular concern. In the announcement, DfID said its overall aid spending would increase during the next two years. But because of new DfID plans to target lower-income countries, programmes in middle-income counties will still be short changed. Andrew Croggon, head of Christian Aid's Latin America and Caribbean division, said: "Although the countries identified for a reduction in aid fall into the category of 'middle-income', this should not obscure the fact that many of these countries are characterised by severe pockets of poverty and by large and growing inequalities. "In Honduras, one of the countries which will cease to receive funding from DfID in the near future, 44 per cent of the population live on less than $2 (£1.20) a day." Judith Turbyne, regional manager for Central America, said she was surprised to hear of DfID's withdrawal from Honduras. "Having recently opened an office in Honduras to deal with the long term aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, this sudden change in funding represents a reversal in aid policy," she said. Christian Aid and other British agencies have been working along side DfID to help address some of the key problems of poverty and inequality in middle-income countries. It says: "British Government support for this vital work needs to continue."
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