EU grants 4 million euro to ICRC for protection programme

The European Commission has decided to grant the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) four million euros to support its programmes protecting people displaced by armed conflicts, deprived of their freedom and separated from their relatives in three central African nations as well as in several nations in Asia, the EU Information Office announced on Monday.

Friday's decision on the grant, it said, was in response to the ICRC’s 2005 emergency appeal.

The African countries to be targeted are the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, and Rwanda; all of which are at different levels of recovering from armed conflicts.

The EU office said the ICRC would determine how much should be allocated to each country. The money is to be used by July 2006.

An ICRC spokesman in Geneva, Marco Jimenez, said on Monday the organisation would use the money for food and drugs as well as to improve hygiene, health care and water systems. In Rwanda the ICRC plans to rehabilitate the water system in prisons, he said.

The ICRC is helping to reunify some of the estimated 40,000 CAR refugees in Chad with their families as well as other refugees in the region, Jimenez added.

In the ROC, the EU funds would assist civilians affected by the 1998-2003 armed conflict in the Pool region by providing them with agricultural and household items, clean drinking water and sanitation, Jimenez said.