EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight arrived in Mogadishu from Brindisi, Italy, carrying humanitarian and medical supplies provided by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italian civil society organisations and international NGOs. Two other flights to Somalia will take off from Brindisi in the coming days, with additional material on board, bringing the total of cargo to 42 tonnes.
Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: “This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation will support the coronavirus response in Somalia with personal protective equipment and medical material. In addition, the flights are helping humanitarian organisations transport supplies needed to reinforce their projects in the recently flood-hit areas in Somalia. Given the urgency of the needs, the EU accorded utmost importance that these flights are operated at the earliest possibility.”
Emanuela C. Del Re, Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said: “This EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation is a tangible demonstration of a functioning and efficient Team Europe approach, strongly supported by Italy. The Italian Cooperation has a long-standing presence in Somalia, and through this important joint operation, and also thanks to all participating partners and to the collaboration of the humanitarian hub in Brindisi, we can bring additional aid and relief to the Somali population.”
The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Somalia have been put in place thanks to a cooperation between the European Commission and Italy. The flights are being facilitated by the Humanitarian Logistics Network and have been organised in coordination with the Somali authorities and the Delegation of the European Union in Mogadishu. The totality of the transport costs are financed by the European Commission, humanitarian organisations provide the cargo.
The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operations form part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic within the ‘Team Europe’ approach, bringing together the EU and its Member States. The total Team Europe’s support to Somalia in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic amounts to around €55 million. This funding helps to strengthen the health system, support the economy in these challenging times, train health staff and reinforce social support systems. As part of this package, the EU just announced a €5.85 million development programme to enhance coronavirus preparedness, response, and mitigation for internally displaced people (IDPs) and people living in the most vulnerable situations in Mogadishu. This programme will be based on previous and ongoing work on long-lasting solutions under the EU Trust Fund for Africa that support the city administration to deliver basic services in IDP settlements.
Somalia has suffered for decades from prolonged conflict combined with extreme weather, especially recurrent droughts and floods. Against a background of widespread poverty, it is now also facing the worst desert locust infestation in 25 years and a rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak.
EU humanitarian and development aid in Somalia
The EU and its Member States are the lead donor of humanitarian and development aid in Somalia.
The EU is supporting some 20 humanitarian projects in Somalia with €51.2 million thus far in 2020 to deliver life-saving assistance to vulnerable people, including people affected by conflict, drought or food shortages. This assistance includes food, shelter, access to clean water and basic health services, protection and education. This funding also includes €1.4 million that the EU has mobilised recently to respond to immediate needs following the recent torrential rains that caused devastating floods and landslides across the region. Earlier in 2020, the EU has also provided €11 million to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to help it tackle the locust outbreak and protect the livelihoods of affected farmers and pastoralists in the region.
The EU has also provided over €618 million in development funding to Somalia for the period 2014-2020 to support different areas such as state-building, supporting the delivery of basic services to the Somali population and job creation.