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IP/11/487

Brussels, 19 April 2011

The European Commission doubles its humanitarian assistance for the victims of the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire

Today, the European Commission increased its humanitarian assistance for the victims of the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire by an additional €30 million, bringing its total allocation to € 60 million. The decision was taken on the basis of an extended need assessment carried out in the recent days by a team of European Commission experts on the ground.

Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response said: "The Ivory Coast is passing through a very difficult period, but now there is a chance to turn a new page. Whether this opportunity will be used, depends primarily on Ivorian citizens, but also on our ability to help them. We need to maintain both the speed and the scale of our assistance, so that we can not only feed the hungry and shelter the displaced, but also heal the wounds of this conflict. We must also not forget Liberia where a large number of refugees still reside".

A team from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is currently in Côte d'Ivoire working with the European Commission humanitarian partners to assess the needs. The team consist of experts in the areas of health, protection, water, sanitation and food. They primarily analysed the situation in the West of the country and in Abidjan which are the areas most affected by the fighting. The priority is to rapidly identify the immediate humanitarian needs while at the same time working with the authorities and development aid partners to reinforce the local institutional capacity to take over the management of the provision of essential basic services in the medium term.

The preliminary findings from our experts on the ground confirm that while the security is slowly improving the humanitarian situation is still a cause for major concern. Thousands of people still don't have access to the very basic supplies notably food, water and health. Their recommendations have led to this new funding which will be channelled through ECHO's partners in the field – UN agencies, the Red Cross family and non-governmental organisations. To monitor the implementation of EU funded projects, coordinate the EU response and assist the partners the Commission will open a full time ECHO office in Abidjan shortly.

Background

The EU (Commission and Member States) is the largest donor of humanitarian aid to the victims of the Côte d'Ivoire crisis, responding with €85 million so far. Of this total, the Commission provided with today's allocation €60 million so far to support the efforts of the Red Cross, NGOs and the UN to assist the victims of the crisis (see also IP/11/322). This 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 in neighbouring countries.

There are estimated to be over one million internally displaced and over 130,000 refugees in neighbouring countries, in particular in Liberia.


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