THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES,
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, Having regard to Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No.1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid(1), and in particular Article 2 and Article 15(2) thereof:
(1) The hurricane season 2008 was the worst in decades for Cuba, with three hurricanes of category 3 and 4 made making landfall on the island between the 30 August and 8 November 2008.
(2) Although major loss of life was largely avoided because of the country's forte in terms of preparedness, the cumulated damage caused by the hurricanes exceeds national response capacity.
(3) The hurricanes affected in particular housing and agriculture, damaging more than 500,000 houses and over 169,000 hectares of cropland, thus seriously impacting the population's livelihood.
(4) Through a first European Commission decision in October 2008, emergency assistance has been provided to 56,000 victims of the first two hurricanes.
(5) However, substantial continued emergency needs, in particular in terms of shelter, were identified during a DG ECHO mission in November 2008, including also the areas affected by the third hurricane.
(6) To reach populations in need, aid should be channelled through Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs). Therefore, the European Commission should implement the budget by direct centralized management.
(7) An assessment of the humanitarian situation leads to the conclusion that humanitarian aid Actions should be financed by the Community for a period of eight months.
(8) It is estimated that an amount of EUR 2,000,000 from budget line 23 02 01 of the general budget of the European Communities is necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to the population most affected by the hurricanes, taking into account the available budget, other donors' contributions and other factors. Therefore, the activities covered by this Decision may be financed in full in accordance with Article 253 of the Implementing Rules of the Financial Regulation.
(9) The present Decision constitutes a financing Decision within the meaning of Article 75 of the Financial Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(2), Article 90 of the detailed rules for the implementation of the Financial Regulation determined by Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2342/2002(3), and Article 15 of the internal rules on the implementation of the general budget of the European Communities(4).
HAS DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:
1. In accordance with the objectives and general principles of humanitarian aid, the Commission hereby approves a total amount of EUR 2,000,000 for humanitarian aid Actions in favour of the victims of hurricanes in Cuba by using line 23 02 01 of the 2009 general budget of the European Communities.
2. In accordance with Article 2 of Council Regulation No.1257/96, the humanitarian Actions under this Decision shall be implemented in the pursuance of the following specific objective:
- To improve the humanitarian situation of the population affected by hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma
3. The total amount of the Decision has been allocated to this specific objective.