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New Delhi, 6 December 2018 – In response to cyclone Gaja, which wreaked havoc across large parts of Tamil Nadu in mid-November, the European Commission is allocating EUR 105 000 to provide emergency assistance to the most affected communities. The aid will directly benefit 17 500 people in the worst-hit districts of Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur and Thanjavur.
This EU funding supports the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) in delivering life-saving support to the most vulnerable families through the distribution of emergency shelter material and relief items, such as tarpaulins, kitchen sets, and household kits. Long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets are also being provided to mitigate the risk of vector-borne diseases amongst the impacted communities. The action will specifically target individuals whose houses were destroyed and livelihoods lost in the wake of the cyclone, as well as female-headed households and people with disabilities who are currently living in temporary shelters and relief camps.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Close to 250 000 people were displaced and over 60 others killed when the devastating cyclone Gaja made landfall in Tamil Nadu in the early hours of 16th November. The storm brought torrential downpours and strong wind gusts of up to 120 kilometres per hour, causing severe damage to houses, crops, and public infrastructure. According to government data, more than 117 000 houses were damaged, nearly 50% of which were totally destroyed. Affected families are currently living in more than 490 temporary shelters across the state.
The European Union together with its Member States is the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards people in need around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year. For more information, please visit ECHO's website.
The European Commission has signed a EUR 3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of EUR 3 million.
For further information, please contact:
Pierre Prakash, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO): Pierre.Prakash@echofield.eu