EU gives €300.000 to Belarus in humanitarian assistance for helping Ukrainian refugees (10/12/2015)
The European Union is increasing its humanitarian response to help refugees that fled to Belarus from the crisis in eastern Ukraine, with a contribution of € 300.000, which will be given directly to the Belarus Red Cross, through the International federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
"It's essential that humanitarian aid gets to all vulnerable people affected by the conflict in Ukraine. There are around 160.000 refugees that fled the conflict in Eastern-Ukraine into Belarus. The European Commission prides itself in giving humanitarian aid wherever needed, so the most vulnerable get the support they deserve," – said Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus.
The funding will help the Belarus Red Cross in delivering food, hygiene and health assistance through the provision of for instance medical supplies to the most vulnerable refugees to meet their basic needs. The emergency decision comes as an answer to the IFRC's renewed emergency appeal for funding Ukrainian refugees in Belarus.
This is not the first allocation for helping Ukrainian refugees in Belarus. In November 2014 the European Commission has already allocated € 63,524 through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the IFRC, also for projects implemented by the Belarus Red Cross.
The new funding brings the Commission's total humanitarian and early recovery assistance to vulnerable people hit by the conflict in Ukraine to over € 74,33 million.
Together with the funding provided directly by Member States, the EU as a whole has directed over €248 million to those affected by the conflict since early 2014.
The EU has kept the humanitarian aspect of crisis in Ukraine high on its agenda from the early days of the conflict and stands ready to further scale up support as required by the situation.
The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that as of beginning of November 2015 around 160.000 Ukrainians have fled to Belarus from the conflict in the eastern part of the country. A number which is substantial for a country with one of the lowest GDP’s per capita in Europe. Due to its location and cultural affinity Belarus is a practical destination for Ukrainian refugees and the number of people in need of assistance continuously increases. The funding targets 10.000 refugees; identified as the most vulnerable, for instance pensioners and severely handicapped or single headed families, because of the impossibility to return home and the lack of livelihood opportunities. The targeted refugees will have access to food, hygiene and health assistance.
The European Commission provides humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable communities, irrespective of ethnic or religious background and irrespective of which area of the conflict they live in or have fled to. The Commission is also assisting Ukrainian refugees in Belarus and Russia through the national Red Cross Societies in the respective countries. All EU humanitarian assistance is based solely on needs.
For more information: Factsheet on EU humanitarian assistance to Ukraine http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/ukraine_en.pdf
For further information, please contact:
EU Delegation to Belarus, Press and Information Section, at +375 17 3286613 and email@example.com
Alexandre Polack, EC spokesperson, at +32 (0)460 767 000 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Puglisi, press officer, at +32 (0) 2 296 91 40 and Daniel.PUGLISI@ec.europa.eu