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Over Past Few Years Estonia Has Increased Humanitarian Aid Tenfold


No. 210-E

At his meeting today with European Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised the importance of the European Union’s unified quick response in providing aid during emergency situations. “The European Union must strengthen its ability to react to major disasters,” stated Foreign Minister Paet.

Paet and Georgieva discussed opportunities for making the union’s unified aid more effective.

Paet said that Estonia would like to be actively involved in helping to improve the situations of people in countries that have been torn apart by conflict or disasters. “Over the past five years, Estonia’s humanitarian aid has increased tenfold,” asserted Foreign Minister Paet. Already this year Estonia has supported women and children affected by violence and clashes in the Ivory Coast, Southern Sudanese refugees, activity to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers in Somalia, and victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Paet and Georgieva also spoke about the humanitarian crisis in Libya. Foreign Minister Paet noted that the situation in Libya, especially in the western part of the country, is extremely distressing, and the international community should help the victims of the Libya conflict. “The continuation of the conflict will cause the situation of Libyan residents to get even worse, since the supplies needed for everyday life are running out. International aid organisations should be given access to those in distress in Libya, so that aid would reach those who need it,” said Paet. “The humanitarian crisis that has developed as a result of the Libya conflict is affecting the surrounding countries as well,” he noted.

Paet said that Estonia has helped to alleviate the difficult humanitarian situation of victims and refugees of the Libyan conflict through donations to the International Red Cross and the World Food Programme.

Over 800 000 people have left Libya since the conflict erupted. In the eastern part of the nation there are an estimated 200 000 internally displaced persons. The World Food Programme has said that Libya’s food supply will run out within 6 to 8 weeks, first in the eastern part of the country.

Foreign Minister Paet and Commissioner Georgieva also spoke about the humanitarian situation in Southern Sudan. Paet invited the EU commissioner for co-operation, humanitarian aid and crisis response to visit Estonia.

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