European Commissioner Poul Nielson announces more than 25 Million Euro in aid for victims of the Mozambican floods

IP/00/221
Brussels, 3 March 2000 - Following his two day fact finding mission to Mozambique with Portuguese State Secretary Amado, Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Poul Nielson today announced 25 Million Euro in aid for victims of the floods. This assistance includes 4.15 Million in emergency food and humanitarian aid, half of which has already been released and the remaining 2 million will be delivered shortly. Announcing this help, Mr. Nielson said "This assistance will ensure that humanitarian organisations can continue their relief work, bringing much needed help to those who have lost their homes and livelihoods and are now facing serious nutritional, hygiene and health problems. I am already preparing to release further humanitarian aid on top of these amounts".

Having witnessed the flood disaster at first hand and following his visit to the Chaquelan settlement, which holds approximately 28.000 people, Mr. Nielson recalled that whilst the ongoing rescue mission is of utmost importance, "One must not forget those who are now without shelter, food, clean water and health care."

In a reaction to the increasing scale of this human disaster, Mr. Nielson stressed the EU's short, medium and long-term commitment to the people of Mozambique. He announced that on initial amount of at least 21 Million Euro will be released to help the people start getting their lives back to normal once the floods subside. Mr. Nielson stated, "The EU will follow up immediate humanitarian assistance with medium and long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. The remarkable progress made in Mozambique in recent years cannot be washed aside by what is a disater on a monumental scale. The EU will stand together with victims to rebuild clinics and schools, roads and bridges, as well as cleaning mines washed dawn by the floods. Farmers and traders will be helped to rebuild their livelihoods."

In meetings with leaders of the government, Mr. Nielson stressed the need for a well coordinated effort with the Mozambican authorities and other donors to make the link between emergency and development by a regeneration programme for the region over the next 3 to 4 years.

This year, the EU will increase its development assistance to Mozambique to 150 Million Euro, (not including support from its Humanitarian Office ECHO) compared to 100 Million Euro for 1999.