Sumario: October 5, 2001: Commission allocates EURO 2 million in humanitarian aid for East Timor (Brussels)
The European Commission has approved a further €2 million for humanitarian assistance to the people of East Timor in the run-up to the territory's independence. The aid will be channeled through the Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), which comes under the responsibility of Commissioner Poul Nielson. Support will be focused on four sectors: shelter, health, psychosocial assistance and repatriation/resettlement.
The largest component of the new funding is for a shelter reconstruction programme in the East Timorese enclave of Oecussi on the North West coast of the island. Up to 95% of dwellings in the enclave were destroyed during the fighting in 1999 and urgent housing needs remain. Vulnerable groups, including the elderly, disabled people and large families will be specifically targeted.
In the health sector, the emphasis will be on tackling a range of childhood diseases and on preventing the spread of sexually transmitted illnesses (notably HIV/AIDS).
ECHO partners currently operating in East Timor will implement the projects. Since December 2000, ECHO has allocated almost €20 million for humanitarian operations in the territory.