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A crowd of African refugees

Some 18.7 million of the world’s most vulnerable people are expected to benefit from EU’s latest food aid decision.

The Commission's humanitarian aid department has just earmarked a record €160m for food aid to help people facing severe shortages – in Africa, Asia the Caucasus and the Middle East.

"Vulnerable people in many of the world's poorest countries are increasingly exposed to natural disasters, conflict and economic pressures that can rapidly lead to situations whereby people go hungry. The European Union has an essential role in providing them with food aid and in restoring food production" explained development and humanitarian aid commissioner Louis Michel.

Food aid will be concentrated where the need is greatest. So far, 17 priority areas have been pinpointed. These include: Burundi, Kenya, Nepal, Afghanistan, Colombia, Sudan, Chad, Somalia, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The aid will involve:

  • distributing food aid to distressed people in the aftermath of a natural disaster, epidemic or armed conflict
  • assisting the nutritional recovery of vulnerable groups in crisis situations, with special attention to the under-fives and their mothers
  • re-establishing rural community livelihoods through a "food for work" programme
  • restoring the basic livelihoods of vulnerable people returning home or resettling after a crisis

Most of the projects will be implemented through the UN's world food programme. In its other activities on nutrition and short-term food security, the EU will be working with the Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations.

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