By Isaac Aregbesola
Abuja – The European Union on Monday announced new funding of 138 million euros funding for humanitarian assistance and development in Lake Chad Region.
According to a statement on Monday in Abuja, by the Press Officer to Delegation of the EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Modestus Chukwulaka, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides made the announcement speaking at the High Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region in Berlin.
This is part of an overall EU aid package for the region worth 232 million euros.
Stylianides said that the new funding would help vulnerable communities in the four countries of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon caught up in the insurgency.
“The humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad basin, affecting parts of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, continues to worsen due to prolonged violence, insecurity and environmental degradation.
“To help the most vulnerable communities, the Commission has today announced new funding of 138 million euros combining humanitarian and development assistance.
“This is part of an overall EU aid package for the region worth 232 million euros.
“The disastrous effects of armed conflict and violence in the Lake Chad basin have had a serious impact in an area already plagued by poverty and the extreme effects of climate change,” Stylianides said.
According to him, the EU is committed to continue to help the most vulnerable and that EU is stepping up its humanitarian and development assistance.
He said that the crucial thing was for all parties to the conflict to ensure full access throughout the region so our aid can reach those in need.
The statement also quoted EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, as saying that the EU is determined to move the region from conflict to peace.
“As the humanitarian situation remains pressing, we also need to help prepare the region to move from conflict to peace – and from fragility to resilience.
“Our new funding will invest in social services and tackle poverty, environmental degradation and the effects of climate change.
“We will also boost some of our existing programmes in North East Nigeria by strengthening girls’ education and reintegration efforts, as well as health and nutrition services,” Mimica said.
He said that the Monday’s package was part of the EU’s strategy to better link its humanitarian and development support, with Nigeria and Chad being both pilot countries in this effort.
He said that between 2014 and 2017, the EU provided close to 700 million euros in humanitarian aid and development assistance to the region.
Mimica described the humanitarian situation in the Lake Chad basin s extremely fragile.
“Over 2.4 million people have been forcibly displaced including 1.2 million children, while violence and insecurity have also had a negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of more than 17 million people.
“Around 3.6 million people are in need of emergency food assistance and 440, 000 severely malnourished children across the region need life-saving assistance. The resulting humanitarian crisis is among the largest in the world.
“EU development support in the region includes the creation of appropriate security conditions for the return and sustainable reintegration of internally displaced people and refugees,” he said.