The European Commission has allocated 20 million euros in humanitarian aid for the victims of the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. This latest aid package will help provide the victims with food and nutritional support, shelter, access to clean water and sanitation, emergency health care and protection for vulnerable civilians. The aid will be channelled through the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) and brings total Commission aid for the Darfur crisis to 104 million euros for this year.
Poul Nielson, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Development, said: « the humanitarian situation in Darfur is still extremely worrying, and by all accounts could deteriorate further. Since the beginning of the crisis last year the European Commission has progressively increased its financial support and has been actively advocating for access for aid workers and a peaceful solution to the conflict. Continuing violence in the region has claimed the lives of thousands of people, and is seriously hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid. All armed groups must bring this violence to an end once and for all. The people of Darfur have already suffered too much.»
The humanitarian crisis in Darfur - one of the poorest regions of Sudan - has become the worst in the world since hostilities broke out in February 2003. About 2.2 million people - a third of the entire population of the Darfur region - are badly affected. 1.2 million people have been displaced within Sudan and approximately 200,000 people have fled across the border into Chad. Serious violations of human rights have been reported by the UN and human rights organisations.
Despite a considerable response from the international community the majority of affected communities are still not receiving a full package of humanitarian assistance due to access problems. The aid delivery effort is running out of time as the rainy season has already begun and many farmers have not been able to plant due to displacement and insecurity.
The largest portion of the aid - a cash donation worth 15 million - will help the World Food Programme implement a massive food distribution programme from now and through the winter months. The remaining 5 million will be used to provide food security, protection and care for vulnerable groups, shelter and essential items such as cooking pots and clothes, clean water and basic sanitation services.
ECHO is currently managing 57 million euros for the Darfur crisis, in addition to its regular 20 million programme for Sudan. Since 1994, the Commission, through ECHO has allocated close to 260 million euros in humanitarian assistance to both North and South Sudan.