Brussels, 22 December 2009 - The European Commission is increasing its funding by €7 million to provide relief to the most vulnerable populations in the occupied Palestinian territory. The funds will be channelled from the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department through non-governmental and international organisations including United Nations agencies.
Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said "2009 has been one of the worst years in recent times for the people of the Gaza Strip. This crisis has attracted a lot of international attention, but we mustn't forget that vulnerable communities in the West Bank are also struggling to survive because of the severe access restrictions and the fragmentation of their territory. While according to International Humanitarian Law the prime responsibility in terms of assistance lies with the occupying power, an urgent response is needed to assist communities affected by the separation barrier who have exhausted all their coping mechanisms. With this latest funding we are heeding their call for help."
The targeted populations for this latest funding are the most affected families in the West Bank, including marginalized communities living in "Area C".
It is planned that the funds will be deployed for emergency job creation and the provision of dry food rations, implemented by UNRWA and the WFP.
The €7 million will complement the €74.4 million already mobilized in 2009 by the Commission for relief assistance, which included emergency aid for victims of the conflict in Gaza. ( IP/09/124 , IP/09/2 , IP/08/2064 and IP/09/923 ).