The European Commission has announced an additional $38 Million USD in humanitarian relief for the Great Lakes region of Africa. The aid is earmarked for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and for continued support to Burundian refugees in the region.
This brings the overall amount of EU aid in the Great Lakes region in 2019 to almost $77 Million USD.
“Food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo is worsening the humanitarian situation. We are stepping up support, including in the eastern conflict-torn part of the country, affected by the Ebola epidemic. We also maintain our solidarity with Burundian refugees in the region. Our new aid package will provide emergency healthcare, improve hygiene conditions and access to clean water, provide protection, and give education to children caught in these crises,” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and EU Ebola coordinator (September 18).
Africa's Great Lakes region continues to face armed conflicts and insecurity. As a consequence there is an increase in both cross-border as well as internal forced displacements, food shortages and undernutrition, with a concomitant recurrence of outbreaks of epidemics and natural disasters.
EU-supported projects include giving rapid and flexible aid to conflict-affected people, providing psychosocial support to survivors of gender-based violence, and giving vulnerable communities clean water supply systems.
The EU is a significant contributor in the Ebola response in the DRC. Since the outbreak of the current Ebola epidemic, the EU has supported health experts, airlifts to and from remote areas, vaccine development and research, among other things. In addition, the EU is providing training in medical evacuations through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Burundi's political crisis, ongoing since 2015, has triggered a major socio-economic downturn in an already poor and fragile country. The EU supports Burundian refugees in Tanzania and Rwanda.