Brussels, 26 February 2010
European Commission allocates more than €375 million in humanitarian aid to help vulnerable people from Afghanistan to Sudan
Over the last month, the European Commission has adopted a series of humanitarian aid decisions worth €375.35 million for operations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The funds are managed by the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO).
Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "This financing shows that Europe cares. The EU has responded rapidly, with substantial resources, to the Haiti tragedy and these new decisions show our continuing commitment to supporting the most vulnerable people in other parts of the world. Our help is crucial in humanitarian hotspots from Afghanistan to Sudan, and from the Sahel to the Middle East. Millions of people could not survive without international support."
She added: "There are many causes of humanitarian crises: natural disasters like earthquakes, droughts and floods as well as conflicts, epidemics, chronic food insecurity and poverty. Humanitarian aid is crucial in saving lives and alleviating suffering until longer term solutions are found. It goes to those most in need, irrespective of their nationality, religion, political affiliation or ethnic origin."
The regions and countries covered by these humanitarian funding decisions are Sudan (€114m), the Middle East (€58m), the Democratic Republic of Congo (€45m), Afghanistan (€33m), Chad (€28m), the Sahel region (€20m), Burma/Myanmar (and refugees in Thailand - €17.25m), Burundi (and refugees in Tanzania - €15m), Colombia (€12m), the Central African Republic (€5m) and the Philippines (€5m). €15 million is for capacity-building programmes of UN agencies and international organisations to strengthen the overall humanitarian response. An additional €8.1 million is for a special humanitarian air service (ECHO Flight) in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Commission's basic humanitarian budget for 2010 is more than €800 million. In the case of significant and unforeseen emergencies, it can request extra funding from the budget reserve, as in the case of Haiti.
Commission-funded humanitarian projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. ECHO has around hundred field experts permanently based in crisis zones around the globe. They closely follow developments in the humanitarian situation and monitor the use of the Commission's relief funds.
For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm