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The European Commission has adopted its humanitarian aid budget for 2016. With nearly €1.1 billion as an initial allocation, it is the highest budget for life-saving relief in man-made and natural disasters to date.
This budget decision comes at a time, when the world is experiencing unprecedented levels of human suffering, including in the Middle-East and sub-Saharan Africa, where protracted conflicts and recurrent natural disasters have left millions forcefully displaced and in need of basics such as food, water, medicine and shelter.
"Next year we'll have a record budget due to tragically high levels of needs. The EU will continue to play its role to address the needs of the most vulnerable and can be proud to remain among the leading global donors of humanitarian assistance in 2016. At the same time, I call on other donors to step up their commitments. From the refugee crisis to the impact of natural disasters, a stronger global response is needed," said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
The 2016 humanitarian budget will address the refugee crisis in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and the Western Balkans. It will also assist people affected by conflicts in South Sudan and Ukraine, and it will bring relief to communities in the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin who are victims of recurrent disasters. The funding will help vulnerable people caught up in many of the world's 'forgotten crises' – such as displacement in Colombia, Myanmar/Burma and Afghanistan – which otherwise escape the attention of the international community.
As a specific priority, the European Commission is set to increase its 2016 humanitarian funding for education in emergencies from 1% to 4% of the overall humanitarian budget – meeting the UN set global target. Other priorities include helping vulnerable communities prepare for and better cope with recurrent natural disasters, such as those of South-east Asia.