Brussels, 14 March 2007 - The European Commission has adopted two global humanitarian aid plans totalling €60 million for large-scale aid operations in Sudan and Chad. Beneficiaries of the €45 million global plan for Sudan are the most vulnerable populations throughout the country and in particular in Darfur and South Sudan. The €15 million global plan for Chad focuses on assistance for refugees, displaced people and vulnerable resident communities in the east and the south of the country.
The main humanitarian concern of the Commission continues to be the conflict in the Sudanese province of Darfur. Up to four million people are affected and around two million are displaced. Some 230,000 have sought refuge in Chad. Due to an increase in violence against civilians, some areas in eastern Chad have suffered depopulation, and relief agencies are now trying to help around 100,000 displaced people. At the same time, because of the spill-over of the fighting into Chad, thousands of Chadians have crossed the border in the other direction and are now refugees in Darfur.
€110 million in 2007 for humanitarian and food aid
A total of €110 million has been earmarked for relief assistance in Sudan and Chad during 2007: the €60 million announced today and €50 million in food aid (€40m for Sudan and €10m for Chad - see IP/07/242). Between 2004 and 2006, the Commission allocated more than €357 million to meet humanitarian needs linked to crises in Sudan.
A major concern is the increasing difficulty in implementing relief efforts. Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "The additional humanitarian aid Europeans have mobilised is badly needed by millions of suffering people who bear the brunt of the violence in Darfur and beyond. There is no question about our willingness to help the victims of the conflict but the work of relief organisations on the ground has become increasingly difficult and dangerous. This is simply not acceptable. Humanitarian workers provide relief impartially to those who need it most. The Sudanese authorities and rebel movements have an obligation to facilitate their work and ensure their safety."
With the additional €60 million, the Commission aims to enhance the protection of civilians and provide basic life-saving assistance, including water supplies, treatment for malnourished children, emergency drug kits, mobile clinics, measures to tackle cholera, hygiene products and shelter.
Beyond the Darfur crisis, the global plans for Sudan and Chad cover the humanitarian needs of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in South Sudan, displaced people throughout the country and some 48,000 refugees from the Central African Republic living in camps in southern Chad.
The Commission is also a major financial contributor to the African Union mission in Sudan (AMIS).
Humanitarian and food aid funding are channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. Commission-funded projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies like the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. ECHO has support offices in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, in Nyala in Darfur, in Juba in South Sudan, in Abéché in eastern Chad and in Chad's capital, N'Djamena. They closely follow developments in the humanitarian situation and play an active role in the local coordination of relief efforts. They also monitor the use of the Commission's relief funds.