Brussels, 17 February 1995
The population of Georgia, facing dire poverty since the collapse of the Soviet Union, can expect emergency aid as of now thanks to a new European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) action. On the occasion of the visit of the President of Georgia Edouard SHEVARDNADZE, the President of the Commission Jacques SANTER, together with the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Mme Emma BONINO, announced an ECHO initiative which covers both emergency food aid, health care and shelter, and is a response to urgent needs. It is also intended as a contribution to the stabilisation of the difficult conditions of the Georgian economy.
ECHO is working with non-governamental organisations (NGOs) in the field on projects worth 11.215 million European Currency Units (Ecu). Within this total, 4.5 million Ecu has been earmarked for food aid, 2 million Ecu for fuel supplies to enable power generation, and 4.715 million Ecu for general humanitarian aid. The programmes are scheduled to last six months.
Food aid: ECHO's partners in the field are: Action Internationale Contre la Faim (France), Arbeiter Samariter Bund (Germany), Care (UK), Caritas (Denmark), The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Secours Populaire Francais (France), Feed the Children (UK), The International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies (IFRC) and national Red Cross societies.
They will channel emergency food aid to those most in need. Some food will be distributed in parcels packed for those confined to their homes, and for families sheltering displaced people. Much food will go in bulk deliveries to kitchens in temporary refuges set up within factories, schools, hotels and other public buildings requisitioned for this action. About a third of those displaced are living in such refuges, and the kitchens provide their regular basic meals.
Non-food aid: ECHO's partners are: Gessellschaft fÜr Technische Zesammenarbeit (Germany), the IFRC, Medecins Sans Frontieres Spain and France, Fundaçâo Assistência Medica Internacional (Portugal), Oxfam (UK), Premiere Urgence (France) and Stichtung Vlugtling (Netherlands).
They will carry out emergency repairs to hospitals and other health facilities, and provide a basic healthcare service. They will aim to guarantee at least minimal water and power supplies, both of which have been erratic or non-existent because of a lack of fuel. The projects include the supply of fuel oil for essential power generation, mainly in hospitals, schools, childcare centres and other social service facilities. NGOs will also provide blankets and winter clothes.
In 1994, ECHO gave humanitarian aid worth a total of 17.306 million Ecu for Georgia, including nine million Ecu in food aid. ECHO is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid in Georgia.