New fund for victims of conflict-related violence and natural disasters

The government has decided to create a new emergency aid fund for the 2014-2017 period. In total an extra €570 million will be made available to meet the most immediate needs of those affected by conflict-related violence and natural disasters. This is in addition to the existing €210 million annual humanitarian aid budget.

Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, noted that the main impetus behind this new fund is the accumulation of several major crises at once. ‘There are millions of people in countries such as Iraq, Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic who are currently fleeing conflict-related violence. We cannot just leave them to their fate,’ said the minister. ‘At the same time, daily life in West Africa is being totally disrupted by the Ebola outbreak. The Netherlands is recognising its international responsibility by providing humanitarian aid to those in greatest need.’

The additional money will be used primarily to increase acute emergency aid for those in crisis zones, improve regional relief efforts and prevent further crises. ‘We must help those who have lost everything,’ said Ms Ploumen. ‘Take the millions of Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon or Jordan, or the people of northern Iraq who are being subjected to horrendous violence at the hands of ISIS. We can also do more to ensure that people are not so at risk from natural disasters, such as investing in new or improved tsunami warning systems.’

As part of a separate initiative, extra money will be made available in 2014-2015 to assist with the reception of asylum seekers in the Netherlands. The costs will be covered by the development cooperation budget.