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Summary: 13 June 2008, Brussels - The European Commission has allocated €44 million to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable Palestinians and those populations affected by the conflict in Iraq. More than 1.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, will benefit from €24 million in humanitarian aid.
The funds will cover livelihood support, food assistance, the provision of basic health care as well as water and sanitation services. Special attention is being paid to children, particularly for psychological support. The other €20 million are being allocated to provide protection and relief to Iraqi refugees, internally displaced persons and other vulnerable populations affected by the conflict in Iraq, both inside and outside the country.
Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "Large numbers of vulnerable Palestinians and Iraqis rely on the international community to cover their basic humanitarian needs. Europe will not let them down. They can count on the solidarity of European citizens. The European Commission continues to be one of the largest humanitarian donors for the Palestinians as well as the Iraqis.
All Commission relief funds are channelled through its Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Michel. Commission-funded projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.
Since 2006, the European Commission has supported vulnerable Palestinians with humanitarian aid worth €206.6 million, including today's allocation. The Commission has a support office in Jerusalem to maximise the impact of its aid. It plays an active role in the local coordination of relief efforts and monitors the use of its relief funds on the spot.
Since 2006, the European Commission has supported vulnerable populations in Iraq, Syria and Jordan affected by the conflict in Iraq with humanitarian aid worth €37.8 million, including today's allocation. When required, humanitarian assistance can also be provided to other affected neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Turkey, Iran and Egypt. Commission humanitarian field experts in the region closely follow the development of the humanitarian situation of Iraqis in and outside the country. The humanitarian needs covered by the Commission's assistance include protection, food and non-food items (like household items and blankets), basic health care and psychosocial support, maintenance of basic water and sanitation facilities, as well as support for the coordination of relief efforts by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD)
Humanitarian aid is just one pillar of the European Commission's overall response to both crises. For the Palestinians, this overall response includes support to the UN agency for the Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and the so-called PEGASE mechanism – an instrument to channel EU and international assistance as a contribution to the building of the Palestinian State (see IP/08/465). For Iraq, the Commission provides support through the Development and Co-operation Instrument (DCI). Reconstruction assistance also includes contributions to the International Reconstruction Funds Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) and structural support to improve health and educational services (see IP/07/1903).
For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm