The European Commission is allocating over €63 000 through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Belarus Red Cross Society in meeting immediate needs of vulnerable refugee populations who fled the conflict in eastern Ukraine into Belarus.
This new funding has been brought forward due to an increasing number of people fleeing eastern Ukraine and the winter looming.
Humanitarian aid will be provided to about 2 400 people, of whom 1 200 have crossed the border only recently. Over 100 families with children, 20 expectant mothers, 480 single parent families, 300 disabled and 300 elderly are among those most vulnerable newly arrived refugees who will receive vouchers to buy food, water, and hygiene items. This funding will also contribute to replenish the emergency stock that was used this summer to support 1 200 affected people.
The European Commission contributes annually to the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). This ensures rapid and effective assistance to disaster victims and strengthens the resilience of vulnerable populations. Under the newly-signed 2014 agreement, the Commission has contributed € 1.5 million to the DREF in order to support National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in their response to small-scale disasters for which no international appeal is likely to be launched.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) was established by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in 1985 to provide immediate financial support to Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, enabling them to carry out their unique role as first responders after a disaster. The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department ECHO is a key donor to the DREF.
For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and the European Commission enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations that are in line with its humanitarian mandate.