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31 July 2002
Press pack : Middle East
Commission to provide a further €9.5 million in humanitarian aid for the Palestinians
Brussels, 31 July 2002 -
The European Commission has adopted a decision worth €9.5 million to help meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable sections of the Palestinian population. The funding, which brings the amount of humanitarian aid in 2002 to €18 million, is being channelled through the Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO). Commenting on the decision, Poul Nielson, the European Commissioner responsible for Development and Humanitarian Aid, spoke of the "growing humanitarian tragedy facing the Palestinian people as the crisis in the Middle East drags on. Border closures and the resulting job losses have led to enormous hardship with many more people becoming dependent on international assistance. The indicators for health and nutrition, in particular, are highly alarming with big increases in the numbers of malnourished children and in the incidence of preventable diseases." The health sector features prominently in the new decision with funding for a range of actions including nutritional support for under-fives, psychosocial treatment for children and adolescents, training for medical staff and health education. Support is also being provided to improve water supply, sanitation and electricity systems and for shelter rehabilitation. Beneficiaries will include vulnerable populations in Gaza and the West Bank as well as Palestinian refugees living in camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. The projects will be implemented by ECHO partners (UN agencies, NGOs and Red Cross organisations) operating in the area.