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Summary: Humanitarian aid for Lebanon: EU Commission commits another €10m and plans package of €50m (26 July 2006: Brussels)
With growing evidence of a large-scale humanitarian crisis unfolding in Lebanon, the European Commission has mobilised a further tranche of emergency humanitarian funding to help victims of the conflict. Following the announcement of an initial emergency decision for €10 million last week (IP/06/1049), a further decision, also for €10 million, has been launched today.
Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, emphasised "European solidarity with those who are suffering - whoever and wherever they are. Our humanitarian aid goes impartially to those who most need it and, tragically, the needs in Lebanon get bigger every day the conflict persists."
Mr Michel also renewed his call for "both sides in the conflict to respect humanitarian rules and principles. Safe humanitarian corridors must be granted as a matter of urgency. Relief organisations are ready to deliver aid to the needy people but the aid convoys are queuing at the borders or in Beirut. Only a few of them have been allowed to reach the southern part of Lebanon. This is not enough. I urge the warring parties to accept a humanitarian truce and grant regular access so that aid can get to the civilians who are trapped in this conflict".
United Nations agencies will be among the main operational partners to be financed under new decision, following on from the UN appeal issued yesterday for relief funds for Lebanon. The funds, managed by the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), will target the most needy, notably the growing numbers of internally displaced people who have been forced to flee from their homes.
In addition to the €20 million already committed for relief activities in Lebanon, the Commission is proposing the allocation of further substantial humanitarian support, drawing on the emergency reserve of the EC budget. The approval of the budget authority (European Parliament and Council of Ministers) is required for this and the Commission is moving quickly to submit a formal request for the funds to be released. The aim is to increase the overall amount available to €50 million.