European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department

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The European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) "is a service under the direct responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. Since 1992, the European Commission has funded relief to millions of victims of natural and man-made disasters outside the European Union. Aid is channelled impartially to the affected populations, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.

"For humanitarian aid, the European Commission works with about 195 operational partners, including specialised United Nations agencies, the Red Cross/Crescent movement and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This narrow collaboration with partners applies to the definition of policies and strategies as well as to the management and implementation of humanitarian aid operations. The funds are spent on goods and services such as food, clothing, shelter, medical provisions, water supplies, sanitation, emergency repairs and mine-clearing. The European Commission also funds disaster preparedness and mitigation projects in regions prone to natural catastrophes (DIPECHO programmes).

"The European Commission is one of the biggest sources of humanitarian aid in the world. In 2005, it provided €652 million for humanitarian programmes. This does not include aid given separately by the EU 25 Member States. The European Commission supported projects in more than 60 countries." [1]

Project Examples

9 April 2003: "The European Commission is providing a further relief package worth €15 million to Palestinian victims of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. The aid will support provision of food, medicines, water and sanitation to meet the needs of the most vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The funds will be made available through the Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) which comes under the responsibility of Commissioner Poul Nielson. The relief package will be channelled through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the World Food Programme (WFP), Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This decision brings to nearly €100 million the amount allocated for the region since the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000." [2]

People

Accessed October 2007: [3]

Contact

Web: http://ec.europa.eu/echo

Resources and articles

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References