Venezuela : Commission approves emergency aid worth euro 2 million for flood victims

The European Commission has made available a further euro 2 million to fund humanitarian aid for victims of the floods and mudslides that hit Venezuela at the end of 1999. The aid, channelled via the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO), will enable non-governmental organisations to restore drinking water to those affected, and to provide psychosocial support for children. Projects will last between three and six months. This decision brings ECHO funding for this crisis, so far, to a total of euro 5.6 million. Up to 50,000 people lost their lives in flooding and mudslides last December in one of the worst-ever disasters of its kind. Around 200,000 people were made homeless, with 600,000 people affected one way or another. "Providing clean drinking water is a top priority to prevent epidemics breaking out among those forced out of their homes", said Poul Nielson, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian aid. "Children are among those most profoundly traumatised by this disaster. That is why they need psychosocial support to help them resume normal lives", he added. ECHO's partners for this action are : Medecins du Monde (Greece and France), who will reactivate primary healthcare ; Medicos del Mundo (Spain), who will be involved in public health and mental health projects ; Oxfam (UK), which is organising water supply and management systems ; Accion Contra El Hambre (Spain), involved in support for local authorities drilling water wells ; Comitato Internationale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (Italy), helping to organise waste management; and Enfants du Monde-Droit de l'Homme (France), specialised in providing psychosocial support to traumatised children.