The European Commission has adopted three humanitarian aid packages totalling 5.75 million euros for the victims of "forgotten" crises in Nepal (2 million euros), India (2 million euros) and East Timor/Indonesia (1.75 million euros). The aid is managed by the Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Poul Nielson.
"These funds will make a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people living in crisis situations in Asia. Although their plight is rarely featured in the media, they have as much right to humanitarian aid as people living in more high profile crises", said Poul Nielson, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.
Nepal (Bhutanese refugees) - 2 million euros
This decision will help meet the basic food needs of the 100,000 refugees from Bhutan living in seven camps in the south eastern part of Nepal. Basic rations, purchased on local markets, will be distributed by the World Food Programme via the Nepalese Red Cross. The support includes also the supply of supplementary food items to 3,400 highly vulnerable people (babies, malnourished under-fives, nursing mothers, victims of tuberculosis and infirm elderly people) as well as the provision of fortified meals, served at school to 42,000 pupils.
Since 1993, ECHO has provided 9.8 million in humanitarian aid (including 7.9 million since 2001) for the Bhutanese refugees.
India - 2 million euros
The funds will enable continued humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable people affected by the internal conflict in Jammu and Kashmir. The emphasis is on providing primary health care and psychological support to about 100,000 vulnerable people. The Commission will also finance awareness raising about International Humanitarian Law in the armed forces deployed to the region.
East Timor/Indonesia - 1.75 million euros
East Timor was hit by a two-year drought from 2001 to 2003 resulting in crop failure and malnutrition. While agricultural production seems to have recovered this year, acute malnutrition continues to affect the population in rural areas of the country, particularly in the western districts, where nutritional assessments carried out by CARE International have shown that prevalence of acute malnutrition is above the emergency threshold.
ECHO funds will be used to meet the nutritional requirements of some 1,300 acutely malnourished children and 2,100 pregnant and lactating mothers. Food security will be assured for 6,500 vulnerable households in the Districts of Bobonaro, Cova-Lima and Liquiça.
In Indonesia, where some 500,000 people remain displaced, internal conflicts continue to affect the capacity of the population of Aceh, Ambon and Central Sulawesi to meet their basic needs. ECHO funds will be used to cover the essential requirements of some 50,000 people affected by conflict in these areas.