Eritrea

Humanitarian crisis in Eritrea: update on the EU response

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EUROPEAN UNION
DELEGATION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO ERITREA

PRESS RELEASE

Asmara, 12 March, 2003 - A humanitarian crisis due to erratic rainfalls and other structural causes was announced for Eritrea in mid-2002 and is currently unfolding. The Government of the State of Eritrea, via the Eritrean Relief and Refugee Commission (ERREC), launched an appeal for emergency assistance in tackling the present crisis to the international community. As a response, the European Union has, since August 2002, committed a total of nearly €34 million to meet urgent humanitarian needs.

The European Commission has allocated funds both as food aid for free distribution and to support returning refugees and internally displaced people to the extent of €16.3M. A consignment of approximately 24,000 Mt of wheat for free distribution will be delivered to ERREC starting from April 2003. .

Member States of the European Union have made bilateral contributions worth a total of €17,7 million, in food and humanitarian aid via different UN Agencies.

Additionally, a number of proposals prepared by NGOs aiming to support rebuilding peoples' livelihoods are currently being assessed and new allocations might be forthcoming.

Background:

The EU emergency operations focus on food aid and urgent humanitarian assistance. The initial humanitarian response of the European Union to the appeal for Eritrea amounted to €26 million in December 2002. The European Commission and EU Member States' programmes have also provided since Eritrea independence financial assistance to support long-term food security, e.g. by improving Eritrea's preparedness to deal with crises and by reducing population's vulnerability to risks.


Annex: Contribution by the EC and EU Member States


(€Million)
European Commission
16.30
Finland
0.50
France
0.30
Germany
2.09
Ireland
1.04
Italy
3.43
Luxembourg
0.30
The Netherlands
5.55
Sweden
2.50
United Kingdom
1.96
Total
33.97