Thursday, 08 October 2020
Throughout the pandemic, the European Union has not limited its efforts to aid and support corona-stricken areas to its Member States alone.
Through the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, more than 20 nations struggling with the pandemic in Africa, Asia and Latin-America have received over 1,150 tonnes of equipment.
More than 1,700 professionals have been sent out to provide medical and humanitarian care in vulnerable areas since 8 May.
Most transports of personnel and material took place via air in over 67 flights, for which the Commission spent approximately €10 million.
Transport through the air, more commonly known as an Air Bridge, is especially efficient in delivering aid, because air bridge missions are able to operate around local lockdowns and closed borders.
On their return flights, the air bridges have served as a way to repatriate European citizens.
Air bridges to Africa and the Middle East
Most EU aid was delivered to African countries, including the African Union, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Nigeria, the island of São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
Yemen, Iran, Lebanon and Iraq are also included in the list. Turkey received €1.7 million to support vulnerable refugees during the pandemic.
One of the Middle Eastern countries hit hardest by the pandemic is Yemen, which is suffering from a humanitarian crisis following five years of civil war and conflict. French NGO Première Urgence Internationale was supplied with 11,000 tonnes of nutritional goods and 47,000 tonnes of drugs, medical equipment and nutrition. The operation will provide direct support to 51,000 Yemenis, including 16,000 children.
Water and protective gear for South America and the Caribbean
One flight transported 72 tonnes of medical, sanitation and water supplies from Belgium to Haiti. The island has limited logistical means to import the necessary supplies. In total, the EU has supported Haiti with an aid package worth €15 million, of which €5 million was used for emergency food and cash assistance. €10 was invested in humanitarian support for people affected by the corona virus.
Ecuador, El Salvador, Venezuela and Peru received over 10 tonnes of shipments of medical supplies and personal protective equipment. Overall, the EU has so far pledged over €30.5 million in aid for these areas.
Rohingya and Afghani children in Asia
Many Myanmar nationals were forced to migrate to Bangladesh following the military persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority. Currently, close to 1 million Rohingya refugees live in Bangladeshi camps.
The EU is supporting the International Rescue Committee (IRC), an NGO based in New York, to help inform refugees about the virus and how to stay safe. The IRC also runs a local health facility.
Finally, in Afghanistan, the EU has supported local humanitarian partners with €6.1 million in funds for case investigations, medical equipment, training, and awareness raising activities. Later this year, an additional €15 million will be allocated to help treat coronavirus patients.
The Brussels Times