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IP/11/322

Brussels, 17 March 2011

Major increase in European Commission funding for victims of Côte d'Ivoire crisis

With the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire worsening by the day, the European Commission today increased its humanitarian aid fivefold to the victims of mounting violence. Topping up the emergency assistance allocated in December (see IP/10/1775), the Commission will now provide another €25 million, raising European support to €30 million. The funding will help people in need inside the country, as well as refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries – particularly Liberia, which hosts the largest group of refugees.

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response stated: "The situation is rapidly deteriorating on the ground and this calls for an urgent and strong humanitarian response." She added: "In just a few weeks, the number of refugees has doubled and the number of displaced people has increased five-fold. There are at present an estimated 380,000 displaced persons and refugees. Today's increase in aid will allow us to provide immediate relief to these people many of whom have fled unspeakable violence."

The EU is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid to the victims of the Côte d'Ivoire crisis. This new funding will help improve conditions by providing shelter, food assistance, healthcare, water and sanitation, and protection activities, to both people in need inside the country and the refugees beyond the Ivorian borders.

By international estimates, over 380,000 Ivoirians have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed the Côte d'Ivoire since mid-December; around 80,000 of them have fled to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. The urgent needs of the locally displaced population and of refugees have been rising sharply, but until now the violence had hindered a full assessment of humanitarian needs. Despite the security risks, which hampers the access of humanitarian workers to people affected by the crisis, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) is working with its partner relief organisations to identify the most urgent needs and to deliver an efficient European humanitarian response.

The overall socio-economic situation in the country is rapidly deteriorating: shortages in fuel, cooking gas and drinking water as well as electricity cuts are a growing concern. Numerous violations of human rights (extrajudicial killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, excessive use of force, destruction of property by armed forces, incitement to violence by state television) were reported by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in his 15th of February report on the human rights situation in Ivory Coast.

For further information:

Website of DG ECHO

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


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