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From Afghanistan to Uganda: Commission earmarks nearly €370 million in aid to humanitarian hotspots around the globe for 2008

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Brussels, 29 December 2007 - The European Commission has earmarked €369.6 million in humanitarian aid to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable victims of humanitarian crises around the globe. A series of humanitarian aid decisions has been launched to provide food assistance (€160 million) and humanitarian aid to people in need in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan (€25 million), Colombia (€12 million), as well as the following African countries: Burundi and Tanzania (€20 million), Chad (€17 million), Democratic Republic of Congo (€30 million), Liberia (€15.6 million), Sudan (€70 million) and Uganda (€12 million). €8 million is being provided for a dedicated humanitarian air transport service (ECHO Flight). EU Member States have already approved the Commission proposals for these aid plans and they are now being submitted to the European Parliament for scrutiny.

Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "Millions of vulnerable people around the globe are exposed to natural disasters like droughts, floods, earthquakes and armed conflicts. The Commission is continuing to address these humanitarian crises. These latest decisions turn our commitment into a multitude of concrete actions." He added: "Thanks to effective forward planning, we are again starting the year with almost half of the humanitarian budget for 2008 committed to help the often invisible victims of longer term crises. This means we can get help to where it is needed without delay."

The humanitarian aid decisions rely on field-based monitoring and assessment capacity of the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO). A third of ECHO's staff is permanently based in or near crisis zones around the world, providing an ongoing appraisal of humanitarian needs from the field.

The large-scale humanitarian aid operations to be financed by these decisions will be implemented during 2008. The funding will be channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. ECHO works with around 200 implementing partners, including non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.

This press release only refers to the Commission's humanitarian assistance and does not mention activities going beyond it, especially in the context of Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development (LRRD).

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