Summary: Nepal: European Commission allocates €5 million for victims of conflict and Bhutanese refugees (Brussels: 14 June 2006)
The European Commission has allocated €5 million to assist conflict-affected vulnerable people in Nepal as well as Bhutanese refugees living in the country. This new funding will help to provide access to clean water and sanitation, nutrition, food security, health care and protection for the victims of this forgotten crisis. All funds are channelled through the Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid, ECHO, under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. The commission is one of the major humanitarian aid donors in Nepal.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in south Asia where two forgotten crises are taking place simultaneously: not only has conflict been raging in Nepal for ten years, the country is also hosting more than 107,000 Bhutanese refugees. "The international community cannot ignore the needs of the people affected by this long-running crisis. Through this new Global Plan, the Commission shows Europe's solidarity with the refugees from Bhutan and Nepal', said Louis Michel.
€3 million of this decision is dedicated to assisting vulnerable rural populations affected by the conflict which started in 1996. It is estimated that the ten-year insurgency has killed nearly 13,000 people to date, with a sharp increase since 2002 and an escalation from both sides since the King assumed full executive powers on 1 February 2005. Although recent political changes can be considered to be a positive step, the political environment remains unstable. Under this Global Plan at least 170,000 people living in remote rural districts in Nepal will receive protection assistance and will see their living conditions improved through the provision of health as well as water and sanitation facilities, and through food security operations
€2 million will be dedicated to helping the 107,000 Bhutanese refugees who have been living in camps in eastern Nepal since the early nineties with no political solution in sight. The refugees have no right to work or own land in Nepal and rely almost entirely on external assistance to survive. This funding will allow them receive food rations.
Since 1993, the Commission has provided nearly €22 million of humanitarian aid for vulnerable people in Nepal. This includes €11.9 million in food aid for Bhutanese refugees in the country. The humanitarian interventions will be implemented by non-governmental organisations and specialized UN agencies. The Commission's Humanitarian Aid department is present in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, with a support office. It provides technical assistance to partners and support in the implementation of relief projects.
For further information:http://ec.europa.eu/echo/field/nepal/index_en.htm