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The European Commission allocates $75,000 to Bring Relief to the Victims of ‘Ernesto’ in Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 30 August 2012 00:00

Belmopan, 24 August 2012.

 The European Union, through the European Commission and its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), expresses its solidarity with the victims of Hurricane Ernesto in Belize. As a major contributor to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Commission has agreed to use 32,335 EUR1 of its DREF contribution to help bring relief to the victims. The aid will be used to replenish stocks and to provide food, water and relief items to the most affected people.

Hurricane Ernesto, rated category 1, passed over Belize on 7th August 2012, and its strong winds and rain impacted the northern population of the country. There were no reports of deaths or injuries but houses and public buildings incurred varying degrees of damage. Belize Red Cross Society (BRCS) mobilized its specialized National Intervention Teams (NIT) to complete damage and needs assessments in the affected areas, with the assistance of a disaster manager and a water and sanitation IFRC’s delegate.

The European Commission is providing 32,335 EUR (75,037 Belize dollars) to bring relief to the victims. This aid will be used to support BRCS NIT members on the needs assessment phase, to replenish pre-positioned stock and to assist the 150 most affected families with food and relief items (hygiene items, jerrycans and blankets) delivered by the BRCS for a period of three months. The aid will be channelled through the Red Cross who operates with funding from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Background

The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to ‘small-scale’ disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and the European Commission enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.