Brussels, 23 June 2009
Sri Lanka: European Commission provides €5 million for life-saving emergency humanitarian assistance
The European Commission has allocated €5 million to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people, mostly ethnic Tamils, placed in camps in Sri Lanka. All funds are channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. The projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations and specialised UN agencies.
Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "Europe cares deeply about the welfare of Sri Lanka and its citizens and we have always stood ready to help. After the tsunami in 2004 the European Commission provided €42 million in humanitarian aid to those most affected. In the current humanitarian crisis with more than 280,000 people displaced from their homes and living in very difficult conditions in camps, we are demonstrating our willingness to complement the efforts of the Sri Lankan authorities in meeting the enormous humanitarian challenge. However, in order to properly implement assistance, European Commission relief experts and international aid agencies must have regular and consistent access to the displaced."
The Commission’s humanitarian support covers water and sanitation, health and nutrition and non-food relief items ranging from clothes, hygiene kits and mosquito nets to infant kits.
Since 2007, the Commission has given a total of €42 million in aid for the victims of humanitarian crises in Sri Lanka, including today's allocation.
ECHO has a support office in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. It closely follows developments in the humanitarian situation and monitors the use of the Commission's relief funds.