The European Commission has announced humanitarian assistance of €47 million to help people in need in the Great Lakes and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean regions, who continue to face the consequences of years of conflict and displacement, as well as widespread food insecurity and natural disasters.
Of the €47 million announced, €32 will go to populations in the Great Lakes region – including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, while €15 million will go to the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, including Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho.
"We stand in full solidarity with the people of Africa. The assistance announced today will help the millions affected by forced displacement, food insecurity, and natural disasters in the Great Lakes region and in the Southern part of the continent. The EU remains committed to help people in need wherever they are and to leave no one behind," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
More than two million people remain displaced by internal conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo. Humanitarian partners in the central African country will receive the main bulk (€22.7) million of the funding allocated for the Great Lakes region. The regional impact of the Burundi crisis will also be covered.
In Southern Africa and Indian Ocean, funds will go towards helping those affected by food insecurity caused by prolonged drought, as well as to strengthening capacities to manage recurrent disasters. The largest part (€6.2 million) of the aid will go to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in Madagascar, which was hit by the tropical cyclone Enawo last month – one of the most powerful cyclones to have affected the country during the last ten years. This has put a serious additional strain on the country which has also been struggling to cope with the effects of the El Niño related food insecurity crisis. More than 400 000 people have been affected by the cyclone, some of whom remain displaced. In the aftermath, the EU released additional funding to help strengthen logistics capacity and to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
The Great Lakes region currently hosts nearly a million refugees, most of them in the Democratic Republic of Congo (about 430 000) and Tanzania (almost 240 000), and more than two million internally displaced people in DRC itself. This generates considerable humanitarian needs, notably in the areas of food assistance, nutrition, health, water and sanitation, shelter and protection.
The European Commission is a significant donor to the region, providing assistance to the most vulnerable in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the beginning of the Burundi crisis in April 2015, hundreds of thousands Burundians have fled to neighbouring Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. As a response to this crisis, the Commission released a total of €45.5 million in aid.
The Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region is prone to recurrent natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and droughts. It has been seriously impacted by the latest El Nino weather phenomenon. More than 13 million people are currently in need of food assistance.
Since 2012, the European Commission has supported the region with nearly €125 million in relief assistance and disaster preparedness. A total of €61 million has been released for humanitarian assistance since 2015 to deal specifically with the consequences of El Niño.