Home World News what the European Union is doing on the humanitarian front

what the European Union is doing on the humanitarian front

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As of April 14, 4,796,245 Ukrainians have fled the war since the February 24 Russian invasion, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR). The first host countries are Poland (2,720,622), Romania (726,857), Russia (484,725), Hungary (447,053), Moldova (419,499), and Slovakia (329,597) .

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On March 4, the European Union (EU) activated a directive allowing automatic temporary protected status. Granted for one year, renewable twice, it gives refugees from Ukraine the right to reside, work, receive health care and access education anywhere in the Union.

Reception assistance

The EU offers aid to host countries via the Care program which immediately mobilizes various existing means. Access to the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund has been accelerated. This can concern education, employment, housing.

In all, nearly 20 billion euros could be mobilized this year, half of which has already been allocated under the recovery fund (React-EU). Any national program for the integration of refugees will be eligible for financial aid upon simple notification to Brussels.

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The Commission is also working on a “solidarity platform” between countries, which inform the European agencies about their reception capacity. The executive is studying the possibility of using this tool to direct refugees present in the countries bordering Ukraine to others less exposed.

Poland, hostile in 2015 to the Brussels relocation mechanism, is not against such a redirection of refugees. Some transfers concern vulnerable profiles. On March 13, the EU thus coordinated its first medical evacuation from Poland to Italy of three chronically ill Ukrainian children, accompanied by their parents. Warsaw nevertheless still refuses the logic of “quota” reception requirements.

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Direct humanitarian aid to Ukraine and Moldova

At the beginning of March, the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced 500 million euros to deal with the humanitarian consequences of the crisis. For the time being, 85 million have been allocated for “alleviate suffering” civilians in Ukraine, and 8 million among the population in Moldova. Efforts focus on basic needs: supply of water, health care, shelter, etc.

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For example, on April 12, more than 1,200 EU-owned tents and 4,000 blankets were delivered to Moldova, where the EU operates a humanitarian hub in Chisinau. In a second step, it will be a question of organizing the infrastructures and ensuring an energy supply in the towns hit by the war.

The EU also contributes to the World Food Program (WFP), enabling one million people in Ukraine to receive food. The badly affected city of Kharkiv received 330,000 fresh loaves of bread every day.

Civil Protection Mechanism

The European Commission is coordinating the supply of medical equipment, but also tents, beds, blankets and sleeping bags, via the RescEU reserve created in 2019 to deal with disasters, and greatly reinforced in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. RescEU, which federates 29 countries beyond the EU, has already delivered 107 million basic necessities offered to Ukraine.

The civil protection program also benefits Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic which have requested it. Warsaw, for example, benefits from the assistance of France, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Belgium.

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The EU is also committing to Ukraine its strategic reserve created to respond to chemical, biological and radio-nuclear emergencies, while Russian troops have been able to fight near nuclear power plants, and the risk of chemical attack is taken very seriously. . As of April 6, the EU had provided 3 million potassium iodide tablets, with the help of France and Spain, to protect the thyroid of people possibly affected by a radioactive release.

Technical and logistical support

The Commission has set up three logistics platforms in Poland, Romania and Slovakia, in order to deliver humanitarian aid in the fastest and most efficient way. The EU has also opened a humanitarian office in Lviv, western Ukraine, with experts who ensure that EU funding reaches the people who need it.

The Commission also emphasizes the work of the European agency Frontex to “reduce waiting times while maintaining a high level of security” at the borders. In all, 49 officers were deployed at the EU’s borders with Ukraine or Moldova, another 162 were sent to Romania.

Finally, Brussels is structuring the collection of donations for Ukraine. In particular, it has set up a new channel for private donations. On the occasion of the World Donors Conference “Acting for Ukraine” organized on April 9 in Warsaw by Ursula von der Leyen and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, more than 10 billion euros were collected, thanks to the contribution of governments, institutions, artists, companies and of individuals.

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