What are the needs?
Frequent natural disasters and situations of instability in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and Central and Northeast India generate significant humanitarian needs among the country’s most vulnerable populations. Over 700 000 of the state's residents suffer from the six decade-old crisis. Civilians, who have witnessed violence for years, bear symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress. Many also need livelihood support, as insecurity hampers economic activities.
Central India, particularly southern Chhattisgarh, has seen sporadic bursts of violence between Maoist insurgents and security forces in recent years. Indigenous people living in remote forests are caught in the crossfire. The instability limits their access to already inadequate basic services like healthcare.
Northeast India is a quagmire of insurgencies. The resulting violence affects thousands of people. Ethnic tensions over land rights flare up time and again. As recently as December 2013, clashes between the Karbi and Rengma Naga communities forced thousands to flee their homes in the Karbi Anglong region of Assam. The displaced villagers need shelter material, blankets, access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
Overall, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, droughts and landslides have inflicted tremendous suffering on the people of India over the years. Low castes and tribal populations, whose social and economic indicators lag behind national averages, are worst affected. This was again demonstrated during the 2013 cyclone Phailin in Odisha, which affected hundreds of thousands of people.
How are we helping?
In 2013, the EU (Excluding direct aid by EU Member States) provided over €9 million in humanitarian aid to help address the needs of people affected by violence and natural disasters in India. The funding provided psychosocial support and livelihood means to people in Jammu and Kashmir; health services to communities in remote settlements in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh; and emergency assistance to families displaced during the ethnic clashes in the Karbi Anglong region of Assam. People affected by cyclone Phailin received cash assistance, shelter and drinking water.
Since 2001, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) Disaster Preparedness programme known as DIPECHO, has supported vulnerable communities in reducing the impact of floods, cyclones and other natural disasters through initiatives like creating early warning systems and adapted physical infrastructure.
ECHO has been present in India since 1995 and has responded to all major emergencies since, including the Orissa cyclone in 1999, the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, the Tsunami in 2004, the Jammu and Kashmir earthquake in 2005, the Bihar floods in 2008 and cyclone Phailin in 2013. Between 2002 and 2012, ECHO also provided humanitarian assistance to over 100 000 Sri Lankan refugees living in India. Its total humanitarian assistance to India until 2014 exceeds €130 million.