Sumario: June 11, 2001: Commission adopts Euro 13 million humanitarian aid plan for Afghanistan (Brussels)
The European Commission has agreed a €13 million aid package to help meet continuing humanitarian needs in Afghanistan. The funds will be channeled by the Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) through partner organizations working in the field. This will enable ECHO to provide assistance to the victims of conflict and drought throughout 2001.
The people of Afghanistan have suffered enormously over the past 22 years as a result of long-running conflict. The situation has been compounded in 2000/2001 by the worst drought in 30 years. The Afghan refugee population, living in neighboring countries, is the second largest in the world while inside the country, 500 000 new internally displaced people (IDPs) have been registered and more than a million face food shortages. Organizations working in the field have also stressed the high risk of epidemics in a situation where large numbers of people are on the move and health services are in a very poor state. Humanitarian intervention is essential in these circumstances.
ECHO funding is being allocated to a number of different sectors. There is an important emphasis on efforts to mitigate the effects of the most recent drought, involving food security projects, nutritional support and emergency assistance to IDPs located in camps. Other actions focus on increasing access to primary health care, supplying orthopaedic appliances, improving the living conditions of street children and de-mining operations. On the logistical side, funds have been earmarked for air transport of both cargo and humanitarian personnel.
The Commission spent €104 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan between 1995 and 2000 making it one of the largest donors to the country.