The European Commission has announced the provision of a €6m humanitarian aid package for Colombia’s most vulnerable residents.
The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Colombia, which has been locked in a state of internal armed conflict since the 1960s, has been exacerbated by natural disasters; as well as the arrival of over 1.1 million displaced Venezuelan refugees. Overall more than 7.4 million Colombians have been internally displaced, while statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) classify over seven million people across Colombia as being in need. Conflict-related sexual violence is a prevailing and severe issue in the region.
Since 1994 the EU has deployed more than €241 million in humanitarian assistance for Colombia, the bloc’s largest aid recipient in South America. Aid is directed towards providing Colombians in need with sanitation and safe access to potable water; education in emergencies; making preparations for and mitigating the aftereffects of natural disasters such as floods, drought and landslides; and support for Colombian residents displaced by conflict including protection, food assistance and healthcare.
Humanitarian assistance provision by the Commission is geared towards supporting victims of ‘forgotten crises’ – severe and prolonged humanitarian crises whose victims receive insufficient international aid from other sources – and reducing the danger and impact of natural disasters: €1m of the new aid package is to be directed towards shoring up the region’s preparedness for natural disasters and addressing their impact. In allocating the funding, specific attention will be paid to the needs of Colombia’s most vulnerable and marginalised groups: women, children, indigenous natives and Afro-Colombian populations.
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said: “Supporting the Colombian people remains a high priority for the European Union. During my visit to the country last year, I witnessed the complex situation of those displaced by violence. This funding will help address the humanitarian needs of those affected by the conflict in Colombia as well as reinforcing the country’s preparedness and response capacity to natural disasters.”