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IP/10/1036

Brussels, 6 August 2010

The Commission allocates an additional €10 million package in humanitarian aid for Liberia

The European Commission is allocating an extra €10 million in humanitarian aid for Liberia. This assistance will directly or indirectly benefit around 500,000 vulnerable people across Liberia, by improving access to healthcare, nutrition, water and sanitation as well as bridging a funding gap during the shift from humanitarian to development funding.

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response stated: "After years of trying to disengage from merely allocating humanitarian aid to Liberia when the country was ravaged by a terrible civil war, substantial progress has been made in the past years to accompany the country's rebirth and recovery. I'm glad to say that Liberia is a success story with respect to effective linking between Relief Rehabilitation and Development (LRRD).We work closely with our Development colleagues to ensure the continuity of the Commission's funding. It is paramount that we are certain that there are no gaps in the working of our relief operation that could be detrimental for the Liberian population."

€7 million of this humanitarian aid package will be devoted to provide:

  • Preventive and curative primary and secondary health care;

  • Improvement of maternal and child health through ante- and post- natal care and support to paediatric services;

  • Access to safe water and sanitation;

  • Promotion of hygiene practices;

  • Establishment and enhancement of emergency preparedness and response mechanisms in the sector of health;

  • Treatment of children suffering from acute malnutrition.

This emergency humanitarian aid complements the support given by the European Commission in the health sector in Liberia. Under the 10th EDF (European Development Fund), the EC supports the health sector through a €20 million project, which focuses on expanding access to basic health care and to building human resources in the health sector. This is part of the EC support to the rehabilitation of the country via the 10th EDF of more than €150 million, which is implemented via different projects ranging from infrastructure development, supporting health services, the education system, the General Auditing Commission, and many other projects besides.

Funding from the European Development Fund will then take over activities in the health sector that have so far been covered by partners funded by Directorate General (DG) ECHO, the European Commission's humanitarian aid department. (These humanitarian aid activities have served around 650,000 direct beneficiaries in 9 of the country's 15 counties.

To ensure a smooth hand over and to be certain that there are no funding gaps, DG ECHO has taken another decision allocating € 2.95 million to help bridge the gap until the process is completed.

Past experience has shown that funding gaps are detrimental especially to the functioning of health structures.

Background

Fourteen years of armed conflict in Liberia have left the country with 250,000 people killed, infrastructure that is almost entirely destroyed, and large-scale displacements within the country, in neighbouring countries and further afield.

Although, there is a gradual shift from humanitarian to development assistance, humanitarian funding is still necessary. Liberia will still require humanitarian assistance and support until the Government has the capacity to take over from international agencies within the strategic context of linking relief with rehabilitation and development (LRRD).

Both Services of the European Commission are working closely together to link interventions previously supported from the humanitarian budget with long-term programmes in the framework of the 10th EDF. All food security projects supported by DG ECHO have been phased out, and most of them are now funded from the Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP) or Food Facility managed by the EU Delegation/Europe Aid. Management of acute and chronic malnutrition will be financed over the next two years through the 10th EDF.

DG ECHO will continue to concentrate on the most urgent and life threatening needs that other funding mechanisms cannot deal with. Since 2003, the Commission has provided a total of €108 million in humanitarian assistance to the victims of the conflict in Liberia.

While humanitarian emergencies are addressed by DG ECHO, the long term development needs are addressed by DG Development and Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States. As humanitarian aid can only provide part of the solution to Liberia's needs there has recently been an accelerated transition process to development aid funding. Boosting development efforts and reinforcing coordination mechanisms will be paramount for the success in this transition process.

For information on Commission's humanitarian aid: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

For information on EU relations with Liberia:

http://ec.europa.eu/development/geographical/regionscountries/countries/country_profile.cfm?cid=lr&type=short&lng=en


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