With the humanitarian situation drastically deteriorating in a number of countries and regions, the EU is releasing urgent assistance. A total of €28.7 million have been allocated to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs in Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Egypt and Libya.
“Humanitarian needs worldwide reached record levels last year. We are mobilising the last reserves of the Commission’s 2016 budget to help cover the most urgent needs, in particular in countries where the humanitarian response is underfunded. We will continue to support the most vulnerable people worldwide with EU aid in 2017,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
The biggest share of the package, €10 million, will go to humanitarian assistance in Somalia, for which the United Nations launched an urgent appeal last month. The country is currently facing a severe and worsening drought that has left additional hundreds of thousands of people short of food and water, while five million Somalis – more than 40 per cent of the population – already lack access to sufficient food.
€8 million of the package will address the needs of the increasing numbers of displaced people and recent returnees in Afghanistan, who have been particularly hard hit by the sub-zero winter – as well as vulnerable Afghan refugees in Iran.
Humanitarian assistance of €3.9 million will be channelled to populations affected by conflict in Myanmar. At least 30 000 people have been newly displaced by recent violence, and some 22 000 have fled across the border into Bangladesh. An estimated 14 000 people have crossed into China and a further 3 500 are displaced within the Northern Shan State. All need urgent humanitarian assistance.