The coronavirus pandemic has a major health, social and economic impact on societies around the globe, in particular on the poorest countries facing conflict, displacement, natural hazards or the effect of climate change. The pandemic further increases already existing humanitarian needs. At the same time, the coronavirus and its prevention measures are posing logistical challenges and constraints for humanitarian workers to reach the people in need.
In face of these multiple challenges, the EU, especially through its humanitarian aid support, is acting on different fronts. It draws on its long-established network of implementing partners on the ground and its experience in logistical support to the humanitarian community.
The European Commission and EU Member States have mobilised some €36 billion of support within the ‘Team Europe’ approach to fight the coronavirus on a global scale. Part of this funding ensures that the EU humanitarian support is provided to vulnerable communities across the world.
A number of ongoing or planned humanitarian projects were adapted to factor in the coronavirus pandemic. They helped to provide immediate, targeted support to address the humanitarian consequences of the pandemic in affected countries, through projects already active in the health, water, sanitation and hygiene sectors. These activities help address emergency humanitarian needs resulting from the pandemic in countries already affected by humanitarian crises.
In February 2020, through its humanitarian aid funding, the EU was among the very first to respond to the World Health Organization’s Coronavirus Response Plan. €30 million of direct funding was allocated to meet the most pressing needs in some 10 countries already facing humanitarian crises, in line with the EU’s priority to have a global, coordinated response to support countries most at risk, based on assessment and needs.
In view of the magnitude of needs, an additional amount of €50 million was made available on 20 May to help vulnerable people facing major humanitarian crises, such as the Rohingya or crisis-affected communities in the Sahel, Yemen or Northwest Syria to face a deteriorating humanitarian situation due to the coronavirus.
Furthermore, in order to facilitate the delivery of relief items and facilitate the movement of aid workers, the temporary EU Humanitarian Air Bridge has been set up, with an overall allocation of €10 million.
Through these different forms of solidarity, EU humanitarian aid is helping the most vulnerable communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and the EU’s Neighbourhood, bringing relief to many, in these challenging times.
Text: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, 2020