Footage of EU aid to Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.
The day disaster struck, the 26/12/2004, the European Commission decided to allocate 3 million for
humanitarian aid, as outlined in the primary emergency procedures. Some days later, a further 20 million was allocated to humanitarian organisations working with ECHO to cover the following actions: searching for corpses, first aid for the injured and psychological help for the victims; food distribution, setting up temporary shelters, providing water as well as sanitation facilities. On 9 February 2005, an additional 80 million was pledged to assist in the immediate short term displaced people and fishing communities so that they could return home and take up their activities as quickly as possible. The European Commission's contribution of 103 Million represents a third of the total of 343 Million already pledged by the European Union.
The ECHO Directorate General does not set itself set up aid programmes but works with other organisations (NGOs, United Nations and the Red Cross). In order to receive ECHO funding, these organisations must have signed a Partnership Framework Agreement which includes strict mechanisms for pre-selection and control. The Partnership Framework Agreement signed by the NGOs sets out conditions which determine the necessary qualifications of an organisation which wishes to become an ECHO partner. Among others, the following factors are taken into account: administrative and financial management skills, annual audited accounts, and experience in the humanitarian sector and results from previous actions set up by the organisation. The various criteria are reviewed annually.
The international organisations with who ECHO work (United Nations and the Red Cross) have also to sign a financial and administrative framework agreement which sets out cooperation practices. Projects are chosen based on the detailed proposals submitted by the partners. In the field, the ECHO experts check the relevance and possibilities of the project taking shape; based on their reports, the ECHO representatives in Brussels decide whether or not to provide financial aid for a project. In most cases, and this is particularly true for Sri Lanka due to the tension between ethnic groups, ECHO concentrates on humanitarian organisations who were already working in the field before the disaster and with whom they have already worked. In total, worldwide, there are 70 experts responsible for such missions but this number should be increased in the coming months. PHOTOSHOTLIST