Middle East: Commission mobilizes 1.5 million EUR in support of the most vulnerable Palestinian communities hit by severe climate conditions in 2008

In response to a sequence of natural hazards, especially drought, which hit the occupied Palestinian territory in early 2008, the European Commission has announced its plans to provide a further 1.5 million EUR in humanitarian aid. This is to support the stricken populations, particularly the Bedouin communities, the farmers, the animal herders and the marginalised communities in Area C of the West Bank. The European Commission's intervention will provide an emergency response in the water sector, where the needs are greatest. The new funds are being channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

This funding package will help to meet the vital needs of around 100,000 vulnerable Palestinians gravely affected by the severe climate conditions that have destroyed between 70 to 100% of open fields and have caused extreme water shortages in the occupied Palestinian territory. Activities to be undertaken by the Commission's humanitarian partners include:

Emergency water distribution: distribution to vulnerable families with sufficient quantities to cover their domestic and livelihood needs

Enhancement of people's capacity for water storing and harvesting: this will happen through the construction of household water harvesting cisterns or provision of water storing facilities

Provision of water trucks to the joint service councils, to enable them to carry out water distribution.

These funds are in addition to the € 64 million allocated earlier in the year from the European Commission's humanitarian aid budget for humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Palestinians, including the provision of food aid. Since 2000, the Commission's total humanitarian response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached € 407 million. In addition to the humanitarian assistance provided through ECHO, the European Union, the largest donor to the Palestinian people, channels assistance through its PEGASE mechanism, to help the Palestinian authority meet the needs of all Palestinians, and to help strengthen their institutions.

For further information, please contact:

Fadwa Baroud
European Commission Humanitarian Aid office (ECHO), Jerusalem
Tel: + 972 2 628 99 96, Mob+ 972 548 022 760
Email: fadwa.baroud@echo-jerusalem.org

Or visit: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/field/gaza/index_en.htm