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Brussels, 31 July 2001

Commission allocates a further euro 3.3 million in humanitarian aid for Serbia

The European Commission has earmarked €3.3 million in humanitarian aid for Serbia. Coming on top of the €34.4 million decided for Serbia in May 2001 (see IP/01/711), these funds will benefit the most vulnerable groups of the Serbian population providing up to 59,000 people with a hot meal every day for three months. The aid will be channelled through the humanitarian aid office ECHO which comes under the responsibility of Commissioner Poul Nielson.

While Serbia is in the process of restructuring and reform, it continues to need humanitarian assistance. The cost of many food items has fluctuated dramatically during the last year, leading to a lack of food accessibility. This critical situation affects a growing number of vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, chronically ill, handicapped, low-income families and socially disadvantaged people. With this allocation, ECHO will fund the continued implementation of soup kitchens through the German Red Cross, one of its partners present in the region. Over the next three months an estimated 59,000 people from four main regions of Serbia, including Belgrade, will be provided with a hot meal every day.

The soup kitchen programme was started directly after the end of the air strike campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the summer of 1999. ECHO is also currently funding other humanitarian operations in the Balkans with an allocation of €55.7 million for the period 1 March 2001 28 February 2002.

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