Sumario: June 5, 2001 : Commission allocates over Euro 9 million in humanitarian assistance to East Timor (Brussels)
The European Commission has decided to provide almost €9.3 million in humanitarian aid for East Timor. The funds, managed by the Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), are being directed mainly towards the rehabilitation of school water and sanitation systems. The decision brings the total amount allocated in humanitarian aid to East Timor since the popular consultation of August 1999 to €38.8 million.
East Timor is now relatively stable following the violent crisis which erupted in September 1999 resulting in widespread destruction and a large-scale movement of people to West Timor. As the United Nations Transitional Authority for East Timor (UNTAET) helps prepare the territory for independence, the emerging East Timorese administration has, with international support, begun to focus on longer-term economic and social development.
There are, however, continuing humanitarian needs, notably in the health and sanitation sectors. At the end of 2000, the Commission allocated more than €8.5 million with a particular focus on supporting the health system. In its latest decision, ECHO is targeting almost 500 schools that lack basic water supplies and sanitation facilities. The programme has been developed in conjunction with UNICEF and six European NGOs, who will be responsible for their implementation. ECHO has also worked closely with other donors in East Timor to ensure that their respective operations are complementary and do not overlap. The decision also includes a component aimed at supporting the health needs of handicapped people in East Timor.
ECHO plans to phase out its humanitarian operations in East Timor over the next 18 months, and is ensuring a smooth transition towards rehabilitation and development programmes financed by other European Commission instruments, as well as by other agencies.