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North Africa: EU mobilises €20 million in humanitarian aid for vulnerable populations

Sahrawi refugees in Algeria
© European Union, 2018.

On 18 June, the Commission announced €20 million in humanitarian funding to be provided in Algeria, Egypt and Libya.

The funding will support the most vulnerable people affected by (i) the region's political and protracted crises, (ii) the over 4-decade-long Sahrawi refugee crisis in Algeria, and (iii) the volatile Libyan crisis. It will also help the refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt.

Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management said: “Millions of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers but also internally displaced, returnees and host populations are in desperate need of humanitarian aid in North Africa. The last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the already dire conditions in the region. This includes the forgotten refugee crisis in Algeria, where close to 80% of the refugees remain dependent on humanitarian assistance for their minimum daily food intake. The EU's assistance will help the most vulnerable people to meet their basic needs, as well as access protection and education, among other support.”

Out of the €20 million funding:

  • €9 million will support the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria with food, nutrition, and clean water. It will also help the most vulnerable access health care and education.
  • €6 million will help extremely vulnerable people in Libya access health care, education, shelter, protection services and meet their basic needs.
  • €5 million will help vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt access protection services and education, as well as help them meet their most basic needs.
  • All EU humanitarian assistance is delivered in partnership with UN agencies, international organisations and NGOs. It is provided in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

Background

The EU is one of the leading humanitarian donors in North Africa. The EU has adapted its response and stepped up with more funding since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Algeria, the 4-decade long unresolved political conflict in Western Sahara has left tens of thousands Sahrawi refugees dependent on humanitarian assistance. Since 1993, the EU provided €268 million in humanitarian support to the Sahrawi refugee situation which is considered a ‘forgotten crisis'.

Since 2011, the European Union has allocated over €81 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable people in Libya, responding to the most pressing needs in the country. Years of fighting – exacerbated by a shattered economy and COVID-19 – have exhausted people's coping capacities. Many Libyans, refugees and migrants have lost their livelihoods, and the country's health system is close to collapse.

In Egypt, the EU has mobilised €26.9 million since 2015 for the most vulnerable among refugees, asylum seekers, and the Egyptian host community. Refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt face the challenges of a protracted refugee situation in an impoverished urban setting.

They are confronted with protection challenges, barriers in accessing basic needs and precarious livelihoods. Roughly half of the refugees and asylum seekers are Syrian, with others mostly from several Horn of Africa countries, Sudan, and South Sudan.

In addition, the European Commission is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems.

Publication date
18/06/2021