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Darfur conflict: Commission provides a further €17 million in humanitarian aid

The European Commission has allocated a further €17 million for life-saving humanitarian assistance to the victims of the Darfur crisis in Sudan bringing its contribution for 2006 to a total amount of €97 million. Up to four million people are affected and around two million are displaced. More than 210,000 have sought refuge in Chad. At the same time, because of the spill-over of the conflict into Chad, thousands of Chadian have crossed the border in the other direction and are now refugees in Darfur. This new humanitarian aid builds on previous Commission decisions for the region, notably had an extra €40 million in humanitarian aid announced by President José Manuel Barroso and Commissioner Michel during their visit in Darfur last Ocotober (IP/06/1299). Since 2004, the Commission has been a leading donor for Darfur and has allocated relief aid worth more than €357 million in response to the Darfur crisis.

With the additional humanitarian aid, the Commission aims to enhance the protection of civilians, provide basic assistance and support dedicated humanitarian air services to people in otherwise inaccessible location. The basic assistance includes water supplies, treatment of malnourished children, emergency drug kits, mobile clinics, response to cholera outbreaks, hygiene products, shelter etc.

Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "This additional humanitarian aid we have mobilised is badly needed by millions of people who take the brunt of the violence and suffering. What is happening now in Darfur is a total disgrace and an absolute tragedy from a humanitarian point of view". Commissioner Michel also condemned the fact that relief operations are heavily affected by the ongoing security. "International law must be respected", he reiterated, "That means guaranteeing access to victims and a humanitarian space for agencies to deliver essential relief. It is simply unacceptable that parties to the conflict target deliberately relief workers and operations. Humanitarian aid workers are here not to take side but to provide relief impartially and without discrimination. Sudanese authorities and rebel movements must realise that they cannot shrink from their responsibility with respect to International humanitarian Law. They have an obligation to facilitate the work and to ensure the safety of relief workers."

Commissioner Michel urged the Sudanese Government and the rebel leaders to resume talks in the framework of the Darfur Peace Agreement. He said :" To believe that a military solution can prevail in Darfur is a wrong [and foolish] assumption [and a sign of short-sightedness]. The European Union is heavily engaged in the search for a political solution and will continue its efforts to convince all sides that peace and stability must prevail".


All funds are channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department, ECHO, under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.

Commission-funded projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies like the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. ECHO has support offices in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, in Nyala in Darfur and in Juba in South Sudan. They closely follow developments in the humanitarian situation and play an active role in the local coordination of relief efforts. They also monitor the use of the Commission's relief funds.