European Union brings relief to Colombian returnees from Venezuela

Bogotá, 6 October 2015. In response to the massive population movement at the Colombian border with Venezuela, caused by escalating tensions between the two neighbouring countries, the European Commission through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is providing 91,252 Euros in emergency relief to those most vulnerable.

Since August, 1,768 Colombian citizens have been deported, and 22,194 Colombian citizens have left Venezuela, many without any belongings or means of support. The unusual migratory has sparked a humanitarian and socio-economic crisis, affecting several Colombian departments on the Venezuelan border and causing a shortage of basic food, products and petrol.

Despite the response from the Colombian government, unmet humanitarian needs remain. Thus, the International Federation of the Red Cross, through the Colombian Red Cross National Society and with ECHO´s support, will provide humanitarian assistance to 1,000 families (approximately 5,000 people) in the Norte de Santander department.

Aid provided will include food and non-food items, health care (to stem a potential outbreak of chikungunya, as well as to provide psychosocial support to those displaced), shelter and livelihoods.

This assistance comes in support to the Colombian National System for Disaster Risk Management’s interventions, launched on 24 August 2015, to mitigate the humanitarian crisis caused by this massive population movement.

The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Background

The European Union together with its Member States is the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO's website.

The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.

For further information on ECHO’s work in Colombia, please refer to: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/where/latin-america-carribean/colombia_en

Contacts:

Andrés Triviño

Program Assistant

ECHO – European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department

Cll.113 No 7-21 Torre A – Of. 712, Bogotá, Colombia
Tel: (57-1) 6291836
Cel. (57) 311-8766276
Andres.Trivino@echofield.eu

Hilaire Avril

Regional Information Officer for Latin America & the Caribbean

ECHO – European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department

Tel: + 57 318 528 4710
Hilaire.Avril@echofield.eu
Twitter: ECHO_LatAm