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EU - further €80 million in aid for Tsunami

Asian Tsunami: European Commission earmarks further €80 million in humanitarian aid

The European Commission has earmarked its fourth decision for the victims of the tsunami in Asia. This includes a major contribution to the United Nations Flash Appeal of January 6. This latest decision will benefit about two and a half million vulnerable people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives and Thailand over an 18 month period. The decision will bring total funds committed (and not simply pledged) by the European Commission to €103 million (more than $134 million). Funds are managed by the Commission’s humanitarian department, ECHO.

European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Affairs, Louis Michel, said: “The European Union, through its citizens, Member States and the Commission, has produced a ground swell of generosity for the Tsunami victims. The EU was the first donor to make a firm financial commitment on the day of the disaster, and it will continue to help the affected populations long after the TV cameras have gone. I have seen for myself the vast scale of the needs on the ground. It is essential to ensure that swift and quality humanitarian aid is followed up with appropriate rehabilitation and development support.”

This regional decision is the first tranche of the €100 million released from the European Union budgetary reserve, and therefore comes on top of the existing EU humanitarian aid budget. The Commission’s request to use the emergency reserve was approved by the European Union’s budgetary authority (European Parliament and Council) in a record 14 days.

The funds are allocated on the basis of complete needs assessments carried out by Commission experts in the field and in response to proposals from operational partners. Expenditure under this decision is eligible from 1 January 2005.

The funding breakdown will be according to specific needs in the affected countries:

• €56,5 million to provide assistance, relief and short term rehabilitation (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives and Thailand).

• €15 million to ensure efficient co-ordination of the aid effort and logistical support for the delivery of supplies (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand).

• €2 million to contribute to the assessment, evaluation and strengthening of early warning systems and disaster preparedness in the affected countries.

Remaining funds will be reserved for future needs (€5.9 million) and to maintain a technical capacity in the field (600,000). The new ECHO offices in Colombo and Banda Aceh (Indonesia) are already up and running.
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