The European Commission has adopted a funding decision of €135 million for food aid targeting an estimated 12.5 million people living in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Northern Africa. This decision aims to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people facing food shortages due to natural catastrophes, economic and political crises, or armed conflicts. The funds will be channelled through the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.
Commissioner Michel stated: "Today, there are still almost 820 million undernourished people. This is unacceptable. In too many countries, entire populations cannot feed themselves and depend entirely on international aid for survival. The European Union has an essential role in providing them with food aid, and in restoring food security in areas scarred by natural catastrophes or conflict. This new funding is an expression of European solidarity with the world's most destitute communities."
Following a detailed assessment of global nutritional needs, a list of 19 priority locations has been established: Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Uganda, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, the Caucasus, East Timor, Myanmar/Burma and Nepal.
More than 12.5 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 projects will be supported through this humanitarian aid decision:
Distribution of food aid to distressed populations in the aftermath of natural disasters, epidemics, sudden economic crises 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.
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, such as NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
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