European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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© Danish Refugee Council/Christian Jepsen, 2019

Humanitarian needs in Africa continue to be on the rise because of the combined effect of conflict, food shortages, climate change, poverty, and disease outbreaks – all factors to which the coronavirus pandemic constitutes an additional challenge. 

Conflict is disrupting the lives of many fragile communities in the Sahel. Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are at the epicentre of one of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crises. Vulnerable people living in conflict-hit areas are facing, for the fourth consecutive year, a food crisis due to the overlapping challenges in the region. 

More than a quarter of the population in the Central African Republic is either internally displaced or living as a refugee in neighbouring countries. Most of the displaced people rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival. Interlinked and complex crises in the Lake Chad region (bordering Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria) are giving rise to numerous humanitarian needs. 

For decades, people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have had to escape conflict.  Humanitarian needs in the country are among the highest in the world.

Uganda hosts the largest number of refugees in the continent, the majority of whom are from South Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo. While Uganda has an open refugee policy, the arrival of so many refugees since 2017 has created great humanitarian needs and required increased provision of basic services for both refugees and host communities.  

Insecurity and recurrent weather extremes are eroding the ability of fragile communities in Somalia and Ethiopia to recover. Ethiopia is also Africa’s second largest refugee-hosting country, thus compounding the humanitarian situation in a country that is already struggling to cope. Another looming crisis is emerging in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province.

Africa has always been at the top of the EU’s humanitarian agenda. EU humanitarian aid in Africa focuses on providing people in need with shelter, food and nutrition assistance, access to clean water and healthcare, education for children caught in humanitarian crises, and protection for the vulnerable, such as through the provision of psychosocial support services to victims of gender-based violence. Efforts are made to use different aid instruments that promote the link between short-term humanitarian aid, which can only address the consequences of a crisis, and building synergies with development and peace actions that tackle the root causes of crises.

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