In response to the heavy rain, floods, winds and low temperature in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in January 2020, the European Union is providing €70,000 in humanitarian funding to assist the people most affected by the cold wave.
This EU funding supports the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in delivering much needed relief and shelter assistance to the affected families, such as tarpaulins, tents, mattresses and blankets. The humanitarian aid will directly benefit 10,000 people whose houses were flooded. It will also help to provide the Red Crescent emergency teams with the needed personal protection equipment (waterproof shoes and clothes) to ensure safety of volunteers during interventions.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
As temperatures approached zero degrees at night, which is exceptional in the Gaza Strip, heating systems were inoperable due to recurrent electricity cuts. Moreover, gas stations lacked fuel to meet the demands of citizens wanting to operate generators. The same applied to vendors selling cooking gas. The cold wave affected 30,000 people in 10 provinces and resulted in the death of three people.
The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
Through the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the European Union provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
The European Union is signatory to a €3 million humanitarian delegation 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 delegation agreement between the IFRC and the EU enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.