Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

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Food assistance

Why is this important?

A total of 842 million people in 2011–13, or around one in eight people in the world, were estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger, regularly not getting enough food to conduct an active life. This is partially due to population growth and the increasing frequency and intensity of natural and man-made disasters, which reduce the capacity of the most vulnerable populations to access food.

How are we helping?

The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is committed to providing nutritious and safe food to victims of disasters. 

More than one third of the EU annual humanitarian aid budget is used to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance, making it one of the world's major donors of humanitarian food assistance. Since 2010, ECHO has been rolling out its new Humanitarian Food Assistance Policy and supported around 100 million people facing acute food insecurity.

Assistance needs to correspond to the specific crisis situation. For instance, the availability of food in shops and markets does not necessarily sufficient when disaster victims lose financial resources for buying it. In such cases, ECHO helps vulnerable people get access to the food they need by providing them with cash or vouchers. This is often more efficient and effective than shipping sacks of rice or flour halfway across the globe. However, if after a disaster no food is temporarily available in the local markets, ECHO provides the most vulnerable with the most essential food items during the most critical times.

A high priority is providing sustainable solutions and restoring self-reliance, for instance, by providing seeds and toolkits to family farmers.

Last updated
05/06/2014