Food aid: European Commission allocates Euro 160 million to help alleviate world hunger

The European Commission has adopted a €160 million food aid decision targeting an estimated 18.7 million people living in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East and North Africa. This funding decision, the largest ever launched by the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department, aims to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people facing food shortages due to natural catastrophes, economic and political crises, and armed conflicts. It is the first food aid decision for 2008. More funds will be allocated later in the year.

Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "Vulnerable people in many of the world's poorest countries are increasingly exposed to natural disasters, conflict and economic pressures that can rapidly lead to situations whereby people go hungry. The European Union has an essential role in providing them with food aid, and in restoring food production."

As with other forms of humanitarian assistance, food aid is given on the basis of need. Following a detailed assessment of levels of food insecurity, a list of 17 priority locations has been established: Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Burundi, the Sahel countries, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Colombia and the Palestinian Territories (West Bank and the Gaza Strip).

It is estimated that around 18.7 million people will benefit directly from this new Commission decision. Beneficiaries will include refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and host communities in areas affected by population displacement. Children and young mothers will be given priority.

The following types of project will be supported:

- Distribution of food aid to distressed populations in the aftermath of natural disasters, epidemics, or armed conflicts;

- Assistance for nutritional recovery of vulnerable groups in both sudden and protracted crises, especially targeting children under five and their mothers. This aid is provided when the food supply situation seriously deteriorates;

- 'Food-for-work' activities, aimed at re-establishing rural community assets. This will include income-generation projects; and

- Restoring the basic livelihood of vulnerable people returning home or resettling after a crisis. Planned activities include short-term support for family food production (e.g. through distribution of seeds, tools and fertilisers) and diversification of the supply of food sources (e.g. fishing as food production and domestic husbandry).

Most projects funded under this decision will be implemented by the UN World Food Programme. Nutrition and short-term food security activities will be channelled through other operational partners of the Commission including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (IRC).

More Information:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/field/foodaid/index_en.htm

Contact:

Claire Barrault
Regional Information Officer
European Commission
Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO)
South Asia Regional Support Office

C 384 Defence Colony, 110024, New Delhi, India
Tel: +91 11 243 36 311
Mob: +91 98 71 39 60 99