Commission decision of on the financing of humanitarian Actions in South Asia from the general budget of the European Union (ECHO/-SA/BUD/2009/01000)

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Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

Having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No.1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid 1 , and in particular Article 2 and Article 15(2) thereof;


(1) On 25 May 2009 cyclone AILA moved across the Bangladesh/India border affecting over 7 million people in the Western part of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal and destroying over 1 million homes. Over 2,000 km of embankment, protecting against the incursion of sea water, and 600,000 acres of crops were destroyed;

(2) On 3 July 2009 DG ECHO allocated EUR 4,000,000 under an Emergency Decision for Bangladesh only, as it was deemed that the emergency response on the Indian side was adequate for that phase. That decision focused on addressing immediate needs to save and preserve the lives of the affected people through food assistance, provision of safe water, restoration of minimal sanitary and hygiene conditions, emergency health needs, emergency shelter and provision of basic households items;

(3) Recent assessments carried out by DG ECHO report a deterioration in the humanitarian situation: over 200,000 people are still displaced and continue to live on embankments; two consecutive crop seasons are likely to be lost due to lack of arable land and fresh water. In both countries there are serious concerns about the coping capacities of the poorest. As crops were destroyed and much agricultural land remains saline or under water, these people will remain dependent on external assistance for food, shelter and other basic necessities, until the situation improves;

(4) The scale of the problem has overwhelmed the governments' post-emergency response and the situation is exacerbated by a high level of human trafficking and by men migrating to wealthier areas and leaving behind highly vulnerable female-headed households;

(5) To reach populations in need, humanitarian aid should be channelled through Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and International Organisations. Therefore the European Commission should implement the budget by direct centralized management or by joint management;

(6) An assessment of the humanitarian situation leads to the conclusion that humanitarian aid Actions should be financed by the Community for a period of 15 months;

(7) For the purposes of this Decision the South Asian countries involved are Bangladesh and India;

(8) It is estimated that an amount of EUR 8,000,000 from budget article 23 02 01 of the general budget of the European Communities is necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to up to 300,000 victims of the cyclone and flooding, taking into account the available budget, other donors' contributions and other factors. Although as a general rule Actions funded by this Decision should be co-financed, the Authorising Officer, in accordance with Article 253 of the Implementing Rules of the Financial Regulation, may agree to the full financing of Actions;

(9) This decision is scheduled to be financed under the 2009 general budget of the European Union. However, should the funds available in the 2009 budget be necessary to respond to a more urgent situation, this decision could be attributed to the 2010 general budget of the European Union;

(10) The present Decision constitutes a financing Decision within the meaning of Article 75 of the Financial Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/20022, Article 90 of the detailed rules for the implementation of the Financial Regulation determined by Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2342/20023, and Article 15 of the internal rules on the implementation of the general budget of the European Union4;

(11) In accordance with Article 17(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No.1257/96 of 20 June 1996, the Humanitarian Aid Committee gave a favourable opinion on 28/10/2009.