European Commission assistance for drought victims in the OPT- ECHO press release/Non-UN document (excerpts)

Brussels, 16 June 2009

Occupied Palestinian territory and Syria:

Commission allocates €6 million for drought victims

The European Commission has launched an emergency decision for €6 million to provide food assistance to victims of the drought in the occupied Palestinian territory and Syria. The funding will be channelled via the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department through non-governmental and international organisations including United Nations agencies.

Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said "The Middle East is experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent times, adding to the hardships of the region. Both the occupied Palestinian territory and Syria have been severely affected particularly among rural communities. Whether the suffering is man-made or because of natural disasters, Europe is once again showing its solidarity with vulnerable populations and is responding to this critical situation with emergency water supplies."

The targeted populations in both in the occupied Palestinian territory and Syria are rural dwellers, in particular, the Bedouin communities and livestock herders in isolated areas of the West Bank.

The funds will be deployed for:

Emergency water, food and seed distribution to people with insufficient quantities to cover their domestic and livelihood needs;

Emergency water and fodder for animals;

Improvements to water storage and harvesting installations;

Provision of water trucks.

€2 million has been allocated to Syria to cover the governorates of the Badia region in the east of the country. The €4 million provided to assist Palestinians will complement already mobilized support of €58 million in the 2009 humanitarian global plan (IP/09/124), €3 million in emergency aid following the recent conflict in Gaza (IP/09/2) and €7.4 million in food assistance announced at the end of 2008 (IP/08/2064).


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