"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Humanitarian assistance worth €7 million, channelled through ECHO, will be used to support the most vulnerable Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza. In the course of the last six months the intensification of conflict has further exacerbated the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, leading to the need for new and larger scale activities. This decision responds to the increasing humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population by providing food and non-food items. Field assessments in the region have illustrated a growing problem in families' food supplies. Purchasing power is decreasing, since many households no longer have an income. Due to closures, farmers in rural areas are unable to market their products. Assistance is needed to ensure an adequate living standard and to prevent the problems from worsening.
The funding will cover the distribution of monthly vouchers for the most vulnerable families, provision of student and school kits, as well as complementary food packages for malnourished children and their families. Support is also being provided in the field of water and sanitation and in medical assistance through health care programmes necessary to meet the urgent needs of the Palestinian population.
In addition ECHO is supporting the protection activities undertaken by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) designed to ensure that civilians are accorded the full protection foreseen under International Humanitarian Law.
ECHO's partners in the region, which include Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Red Cross-organisations and the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will implement the projects. ECHO has a long-standing commitment to help all victims of the Middle East crises. Its support to the region amounts to over €78 million since the beginning of 2000.
A further four projects worth €22 million are announced today, to continue support for the Palestinian reform process, and bilateral co-operation with the Palestinian Authority. These will be channelled through the EuropeAid Cooperation Office.
The contributions mentioned above are in addition to increased support to United Nation's Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) general fund of €237 million over the next four years (2002 - 2005) recently signed by Commissioner Chris Patten. (See IP/02/1438)
The overall financial support for Palestinian Territories by the EC since 2000 amounts to € 294,5 million humanitarian aid and € 443,5 million other supports including forecasts up to the end of 2002. (Details on the overall support since 1994 can be found in the annex)
** United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees - The 2001 contribution of 57.3 MEURO includes a one-time emergency grant of 15 MEURO to help cover UNRWA's 2001 deficit.
*** Since the EC assistance to the Palestinians is spread over several different budget lines, exact disbursement numbers are difficult to aggregate for the overall assistance in real time. The amounts provided here are reliable estimates, including disbursements.