Brussels, 1st July 2005 - Following the violence that occurred in Togo at the time of the presidential election, more than 20000 people fled to Benin. In order to meet the humanitarian needs of the Togolese refugees, the Commission has allocated €1.05 million through its Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) which comes under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. The aid package will be implemented by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR). It covers the refugees' current needs, with a particular focus on the provision of food aid and other basic essentials.
The violence that marred the presidential election of 24 April 2005 led to the internal displacement of thousands of people inside Togo as well as an exodus to neighbouring countries.
In Benin, refugees began to arrive from the time the election was announced. So far, 20,850 people (including some 8,000 children) have taken refuge in Benin. Most have been accommodated in host communities but almost 7,400 are living in camps at Comé and Lokossa.
The Commission's humanitarian aid is aimed at meeting the refugees' needs in terms of food aid, access to water and sanitation, temporary shelter, essential items and primary health care together with psychosocial support for those who are most vulnerable. It also covers the repatriation of any refugees who wish to return home to Togo, in accordance with the principle of voluntary return and in line with the relevant international rules in this area.
Projects financed by ECHO are implemented by its partners - international agencies and NGOs that work in the region. In Benin, the aid is being channelled direct to the Togolese refugees through the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR).
ECHO is closely following the evolution of the humanitarian situation on the ground and is ready to consider a further response, it the need arises.
More information: http://europa.eu.int/comm/echo/field/coastal_west_africa/index_en.htm