European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Middle East

European teams were immediately deployed after the Beirut blast. © European Union, 2020 (photographer: Lisa Hastert)

Caught in-between a complex geopolitical situation and rising terrorist threats, the Middle East region has witnessed growing instabilities over the past decade.

The long-lasting conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq incurred an overwhelming and enduring humanitarian crisis, resulting in the displacement of millions of people within national borders or  neighbouring countries.

Millions of displaced people are living in camps, with very little access to basic resources. This is bringing the host countries, including Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon, to a dangerous saturation point.

In Yemen, over 6 years of armed conflict have led to the displacement of over 4 million people. With an alarming risk of widespread famine, this is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

The humanitarian situation in Syria remains a serious concern. Due to the country’s economic hardship and the limited access to basic services, more than 13 million people require humanitarian aid.

Lebanon has the highest refugee-to-population ratio in the world. Adding to an already dire situation, the Beirut port explosion in August 2020 exacerbated a political impasse and socio-economic crisis.

In Egypt, refugees and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa countries also bring a protracted refugee situation with multiple and severe barriers to access basic services.

Furthermore, the blockade of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank is provoking an ongoing humanitarian crisis. The recent escalation of tensions and sectarian violence have further exacerbated needs.

The COVID-19 outbreak and lockdowns have worsened people’s living conditions in the region. The pandemic has burdened already weak health systems, caused the closure of schools, and disrupted the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid.

In addition, the frequent breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights law undermine the safety of civilians and humanitarian workers alike. It makes harder for international humanitarian organisations to reach the most vulnerable populations in the region.

In response, EU funds provide medical emergency relief, protectionfood and nutritional assistancewater, sanitation and hygieneshelterhealth, and logistics services. It also helps ensure access to education for thousands of children and improves living conditions in the numerous displacement camps.

The EU supports a principled and impartial humanitarian response, based on needs only, without taking sides in the conflicts.

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