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Brussels, 14 October 2009

Afghanistan: European Commission provides a further €2 million in humanitarian aid

In line with its commitment to help the most vulnerable people, the European Commission allocated €2 million in humanitarian aid to help flood-hit people in northern Afghanistan. Many of the people there face an increasingly tough situation as winter approaches and food supplies become increasingly scarce.

Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "Afghans are already suffering from a very difficult security situation. Adding to their misery are erratic climate conditions with drought followed by floods. This funding contribution is proof that Europe is closely following the situation and adapting quickly to changes in the needs of the most vulnerable people".

The funds will primarily be used for food assistance through "Food for work" and "Cash for work" programmes, complemented, where needed, by direct food distributions.

Another consequence of the floods is that a significant number of houses have been destroyed or damaged, thus generating shelter needs. The Commission is helping to tackle this problem by allocating around €1 million from a €35 million funding decision taken in April, to meet relief needs in Afghanistan (IP/09/705).

All funds are channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Karel De Gucht. ECHO has been active in Afghanistan since its creation in 1992 and has boosted its interventions since 2001. In just the last three years, the Commission has provided nearly €102 million in humanitarian aid, including today's allocation. Commission-funded projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.

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