Government funds for development aid have jumped by more than five times in the last decade, according to Irish Aid’s annual report which is to be launched today.
New emergency response measures are in place to help countries affected by war, disease or natural disasters.
These include stockpiles of Irish aid in the army’s Curragh Camp and in Brindisi, in Italy, which can be moved by air at short notice.
In 2007, essential supplies from these sites were transported to Sudan, Pakistan, Mali and Uganda, among others.
The stockpiles of aid included tents, mosquito nets and cooking equipment for families in need.
Of the €870m spent on aid for the year, €140m went specifically towards humanitarian needs, an increase of 50% on the previous year’s level.
The aid provided assistance in 45 countries.
According to the OECD, Ireland is the sixth largest aid donor country per capita, behind Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxemburg and Sweden.
Ireland spends 0.53% of its gross national income on development aid, and compares with a figure of €157m 10 years ago.
NGOs and missionaries for humanitarian development and emergency work received €210m last year.
Aid Minister Peter Power is expected today to emphasise Ireland’s reaction to emergencies in poor countries. Members of the newly created Rapid Reaction Corps, who have recently returned from emergency missions, will also attend the launch.
There are 56 members with the emergency reaction force, some who have been sent to countries including Somalia, Sri Lanka and Mozambique.
Charities have recently expressed concern that expected government cutbacks might affect aid funds which would hit third world help directly.