The European Commission (EC) plays a great role in the provision of humanitarian aid as a form of solidarity towards people in countries outside the European Union (EU). In the awake of catastrophes caused by natural events such as earthquakes, typhoons and floods or in response to conflicts, the EC Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) provides relief assistance to the affected population, irrespective of their nationality, religion, gender or ethnic origin.
Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago. It is located on the ‘ring of fire’, one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. Since 1994, ECHO has allocated over € 113 million to assist the victims of earthquakes, tsunamis, malnutrition and floods.
Recent ECHO Assistance
In 2009, Indonesia was struck by major earthquakes twice in the same month. On 2 September 2009, the south-western coast of Java was shaken by a massive tremor which registered 7.0 on the richter scale. The EC provided € 1.5 million for temporary shelters with a strong focus on earthquake resistant techniques. Local builders and authorities are being trained in safe construction, while local health staff is trained in order to identify and adequately manage the psychosocial distress of the victims.
Just four weeks later, on 30 September 2009, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of West Sumatra near the city of Padang, followed by an aftershock of 6.8. The Government reported more than a thousand deaths with an additional 2,000 people injured. The EC approved an immediate allocation of € 3 million to respond to the urgent needs for emergency shelter, non-food items, water and sanitation, logistics including transport, as well as coordination of the international humanitarian relief. These programmes provided assistance to an estimated 2 million people in the worst affected areas hit by the Sumatra earthquake.
The ECHO field office in Jakarta is also responsible for EC humanitarian assistance to Timor Leste.
Further information on ECHO worldwide: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/
EC Humanitarian Aid at Glance
The European Commission (EC) is one of the world’s largest humanitarian aid donor.
Since 1992, the EC has funded relief to millions of victims of natural and man-made disasters outside the European Union. Aid is channeled impartially to the affected populations, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.
The humanitarian programmes funded by the EC are implemented through around 200 partner organisations: United Nations relief agencies, members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and non- governmental organisations (NGOs).