Brussels, 25 September 2008
The European Commission has allocated an additional €10 million in relief assistance for people affected by the enduring humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. The aim is to tackle the suffering among the most vulnerable population groups affected by displacement, epidemics and violence, by mainly providing assistance in the areas of health, water and sanitation. The humanitarian assistance comes in addition to €15 million in food aid that the Commission has already made available in Zimbabwe this year. All funds are channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.
Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, stated: "I am deeply concerned by the continued dramatic humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. This situation must be addressed urgently. This has been recognised by Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai as one of the top priorities the Zimbabwean authorities have to tackle in the immediate term. This is also a priority for Europe and the European Commission is doing its part to help meet these urgent humanitarian needs."
He added: "The EU's humanitarian assistance is neutral and impartial and not an instrument of politics. I expect all restrictions on humanitarian operations to be totally lifted as a result of the recent political settlement. This will allow our assistance to reach all those ordinary Zimbabweans with acute humanitarian needs who have no access to basic foodstuffs, clean water, essential household items, hygiene commodities or basic healthcare."
The European Commission has allocated more than €82 million in humanitarian aid, including food aid, to Zimbabwe since 2005, including this year's allocations.
The Commission-funded projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. The Commission has a humanitarian support office in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. It closely follows developments in the humanitarian situation and plays an active role in the local coordination of relief efforts. It also monitors the use of the Commission's relief funds.
Note for editors: This humanitarian funding is in no way connected to any current or future development assistance package for Zimbabwe.