Thursday, June 23, 2005
EU and UN join forces to assess tsunami humanitarian response
The European Union and the United Nations will hold a joint conference on 24 June to focus on the efforts made so far in meeting the huge humanitarian challenge resulting from the tsunami of 26 December 2004.The importance of transparency and accountability will be at the heart of the discussions, together with other issues such as future actions and lessons learned. This event, six months after the tsunami disaster, will be held at the Château de Senningen in Luxembourg.
The Conference will be attended by Luxembourg’s Minister for Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Action Jean-Louis Schiltz, the Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Affairs Louis Michel and the head of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Jan Egeland as well as by representatives of EU Member States. The European Commissions ’ humanitarian department (ECHO) has committed €103 million for the victims of the Tsunami so far.
In Indonesia, this has funded a wide range of projects including the establishment of a disease early warning system by the World Health Organisation; the provision of access to primary health services and psychosocial support for 90,000 people; the creation of 20 child centres to register, trace and reunify separated/unaccompanied children; and access to safe water and sanitation and distribution of food to around 150,000 people.
In Sri Lanka the funds have provided food deliveries for an estimated
748,000 people, food and cash for work schemes to rehabilitate basic infrastructure; temporary shelter, food, safe water, household items and basic sanitation for over 200,000 displaced people; assistance for 14,000 families to restore their livelihoods in the fishing and agricultural sectors; improved access to health services for
10,000 people; psychological support for 40,000 people; and physiotherapy rehabilitation for 6,000 people.
In India help has been provided for 39,000 vulnerable fishing families through the provision of small boats and fishing gear. Commission funds have also enabled psychological support, access to safe water, tools, construction material provided for shelter and support for women working in sectors related to the fishing industry.
In the Maldives water tanks have been installed in damaged schools, small bore sewerage systems have been repaired, cold rooms and freezers in damaged hospitals restored; help provided for displaced families to repair their houses and restart farming and fishing businesses.
In Thailand small scale projects have provided support for 2,000 vulnerable fishermen and women.
The European Commission has also made a significant contribution to a United Nations (UNOCHA/ISDR – International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) project to assess, evaluate and strengthen early warning systems and disaster preparedness in South and South East Asia.
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