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IP/10/1012

Brussels, 27 July 2010

European Commission allocates €35 million for victims of conflict and natural disasters in Somalia

Today, the European Commission has adopted a €35 million funding decision to support humanitarian activities in Somalia. It is estimated that approximately 3,200,000 people, about 42% of the population of Somalia, would need emergency humanitarian assistance and/or livelihood support in the first half of 2010; at the same time field assessments suggest that the situation is unlikely to improve in the second half of this year. The €35 million Decision adopted today will address a wide range of relief interventions in the following sectors; health, nutrition, food aid/food security, water and sanitation, non-food items/shelter, disaster risk reduction, logistics, security, and the coordination of partner operations.

Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: "Somalia people are the first victims of the deadly combination of continuous fighting and adverse climatic conditions. Their extreme resilience has been stretched to the limit. Many Somali die in silence for lack of food, medical and sanitary care. We cannot let them down however difficult and dangerous the conditions are for our relief-work-, The Commission as leading humanitarian donor will continue its long-standing commitment to address the main humanitarian needs of the Somali population."

More than 18 years of clan-based conflict and civil unrest in central and southern Somalia have had a devastating impact leading to huge population displacements. The situation has been aggravated by worsening cyclical droughts, floods and outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as cholera, resulting in wide-spread humanitarian needs. The Commission recognises the complexity of the situation and the need for assistance in multiple sectors, as well as mainstreaming disaster risk reduction activities in order to reinforce the resilience and coping mechanisms of the affected people. The situation on the ground remains extremely difficult and dangerous for aid agencies; their ability to access and operate in Somalia remains severely constrained, especially in the central and southern regions of the country.

Background

The €35 million funding comes in addition to an allocation in June 2010 of €20 million to support six drought-prone countries in the Horn of Africa, including Somalia. Natural hazards, particularly droughts, which are occurring with increased frequency, place a huge strain on pastoralists and agro-pastoralists who represent 80% of the Somali population.

All funds are channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Georgieva. The Commission-funded projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies ICRC and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. ECHO closely follows developments in the humanitarian situation and plays an active role in the overall coordination of relief efforts and monitors the use of the Commission's relief funds.

The EU is the biggest donor to Somalia, and is engaged in supporting the re-establishment of peace and security in Somalia (including Somaliland and Puntland) through development assistance.

For information on Commission's humanitarian aid:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm


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