Summary: June 17, 2002: Commission allocates a further €9.25 million in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan (Brussels)
The European Commission has announced a further allocation of €9.25 million for humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. The new decision targets former refugees returning to Afghanistan from neighboring countries, as well as refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) still living in camps. The money will be allocated through the Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO). ECHO's implementing partners for these operations are the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and a number of experienced NGOs.
Poul Nielson, the Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid explained: "This funding reflects the Commission's flexible approach in assisting the victims of the Afghan crisis. Since September, we have taken a series of humanitarian decisions responding to the rapidly changing situation on the ground. At the moment, one of the biggest challenges is to help the unexpectedly large numbers of people who are returning to their home areas with no resources to resume a normal life."
The bulk of the new resources have been earmarked for returnees, covering assistance with transport, return kits (containing basic food and non-food essentials), shelters, medical support and teacher training. There is also funding to support the running of refugee and IDP camps. This component includes the provision of water/sanitation facilities and healthcare, and actions to boost awareness of the dangers of unexploded mines and bombs.
ECHO has a long-standing commitment to help victims of conflict and natural disasters in Afghanistan. Since 1995, it has provided humanitarian aid worth almost €200 million. In 2001, it allocated €55 million and for 2002, the cumulative total, including the latest decision, is €28.4 million.