Finland awards 25 million euros in humanitarian aid

from Government of Finland
Published on 23 Feb 2004
Press Release 43/2004

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has granted the sum of 25,180,000 euros for humanitarian aid.

Most of this amount, or 15.6 million euros, will be directed at countries in Africa. Finland supports the work of the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, where some 2.4 million refugees are aid recipients. Through the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), Finland also supports the distribution of food aid to approximately six million people in those same areas. The need for refugee assistance and food aid stems from the difficult climatic conditions and from armed conflicts.

Angola is to receive 1.9 million euros in humanitarian aid, channelled via the Finnish Red Cross, Finnchurchaid and UN agencies. The ceasefire agreement signed in 2002 launched extensive return migration of refugees and internal refugees. The Red Cross unifies families and searches for people who have disappeared during wartime. About 2.5 million people are the recipients of assistance provided by UN agencies. Finnchurchaid supports the return migration of refugees.

As a result of the conflict in Sudan, which has continued for two decades, the country has four million internal refugees. Warfare has caused the civilian population immense suffering. The peace process has helped to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches its recipients. Finland will give 1.99 million euros in humanitarian aid to victims of the conflict in Sudan, among others through the Red Cross, UNICEF, the WFP and Finnchurchaid.

The strife that broke out in Darfur region, Western Sudan between rebel and government forces has in a short time driven about 100,000 people out of Sudan, as refugees crossing the border to Chad. Finland will give 400,000 euros in aid for the refugees in Chad.

The civil war in Liberia, now into its fourteenth year, has driven 320,000 Liberians from their homes, making them refuges in neighbouring countries. Internal refuges number half a million people. The peace agreement concluded last year gives hope that conditions will gradually stabilise. Finland's humanitarian aid to the victims of the Liberian conflict, totalling 1.33 million euros, is channelled through the UNHCR, the Red Cross, UNICEF and Save the Children.

The need for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan continues to be great. Assistance is needed for roughly a million returning refugees and for tens of thousands of internal refugees. Insecurity and instability have slowed down reconstruction. The Finnish Red Cross is responsible for repairing, and provides operational support for, two hospitals in Sibergan and Samangan. Finland will give 1.7 million euros in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, via the Finnish Red Cross, the UNHCR, UNICEF and Finnchurchaid.

Through the Red Cross, Finland grants 1 million euros to assist the victims of the war in Chechnya. The number of aid recipients comes to 140,000 people.

The economic and political problems of North Korea have led to a disastrous situation for about 6.4 million people. Production has collapsed in agriculture and industry. The country has approximately one million chronically undernourished children. Finland will provide 950,000 euros in humanitarian aid for the imperilled population of Korea via UNICEF, the WFP and FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Other target countries to receive humanitarian aid from Finland include Georgia, Columbia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

Support for international organisations

Alongside aid targeted by country and region, Finland grants general assistance to support the work of the major humanitarian organisations. One million euros will be given to support activities of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). A grant of 3 million euros will go to support activities of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). UNRWA provides income assistance for about four million Palestinian refugees. The International Committee of the Red Cross was awarded one million euros in headquarters appeals, for promotion of international humanitarian rights and protection of civilians in connection with armed conflicts. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was awarded 200,000 euros to improve emergency readiness.

In addition, earlier this year Finland granted 7 million euros to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in support of its activities.

Additional information: Research Secretary Irma Kaunisto, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, tel. +358 9 160 56340