The European Commission has made its decision concerning the amount to be distributed in humanitarian aid funds for the year 2013 : 661 million Euros. This is a considerable amount that will benefit countries that have been in a state of deep crisis for many years.
For this operation, around 200 organisations will assist the Commission in its aim to alleviate the suffering of approximately 80 countries as much as possible. More than half of these funds will be distributed to African states or regions. This money allocation is done in accordance with the Global Needs Assessment project which assesses the annual progress of developing countries. The EU does not forget the “forgotten crises” nor countries that receive little or no particular media attention.
Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said, “The scope and size of the Commission’s worldwide humanitarian aid decision is a sober reminder of the extent of humanitarian needs around the world. For hundreds of millions of people crises are not rare events but recurrent, seemingly unavoidable hardships. Humanitarian aid is a vital expression of our humanity towards those who suffer. As well as the basic physical needs it fulfils, I have seen how it also serves as a source of hope for people who have lost nearly everything else”. From these words it is evident that the European Union has been focusing its attention on crisis situations for some time now, with Georgieva on the front line.
The 5 largest operations
The five largest humanitarian operations will focus on the Sahel region and West Africa, in particular Sudan and South Sudan which will receive €80 million, Mali (€82 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo (€54 million) and Somalia (€40 million). However, the largest portion of aid will go to Sub-Saharan Africa, which will benefit from approximately €344 million (representing 52% of the total amount made available from the Commission for humanitarian aid). As previously stated, attention will also be focused in 2013 on « forgotten crises » in the Central African Republic, India, Colombia, Algeria, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen and Sri Lanka.
In particular, the Commission wants to find a solution to issues relating to the situation of displaced persons in Pakistan generated by a ongoing civil conflict, that of the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, the war victims in Colombia and lastly of victims of the Lord’s Resistance army in the Central African Republic. All these situations are somewhat complex.
The “forgotten crises”
In addition to the 661 million Euros allocated, the Commission has stated that it keeps a reserve fund for use in case of natural catastrophes or unforeseen crises. For example, last year this fund was used to provide aid to the crises faced in Sahel, for the civil wars in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo and for the Syrian conflict. A seemingly secondary priority, this additional fund brings the total amount of humanitarian funding given by the Commission to nearly €1.3 billion in 2012, compared to an initial funding estimation of €640 million. In other words, double was in fact donated. From this point of view, the preventive fund seems more pertinent than ever. The EU has not forgotten the four principles that this kind of aid stands for : humanity, impartiality, neutralism and independence. Aid should be made available for everyone irrespective of their religion, gender, nationality, political affiliation or ethnic origin.