Residents search for missing relatives.
 

 

In response to the devastating floods and landslides that hit the Mount Elgon region in eastern Uganda, the European Union (EU) has provided €80,000 (Shs 334.3 million) in humanitarian funding to assist the families in need of aid. The EU funding will support the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) to deliver urgently needed assistance for families in the affected districts of Bududa, Sironko, Mbale and Butaleja.

The aid provided includes tents to families without a shelter, basic essential items such as blankets and mosquito nets, healthcare services, access to safe water and awareness raising on preventing waterborne diseases. The Uganda Red Cross will also offer psychosocial support to the families in need, many of whom had to leave their homes.

As many as 2,840 people will directly benefit from this assistance. Over 125 000 people in the communities at large will indirectly benefit from the hygiene promotion activities aimed at preventing diseases. This 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).

The flash floods and landslides were caused by torrential rainfall that poured in the Mount Elgon region at the beginning of June, killing 6 people, injuring 27 and directly affecting over 2 800 people. These people lost their homes, essential belongings, and cropland. Their means of earning a living was also disrupted. The mudslides and floodwaters destroyed safe water and hygiene sources, exposing communities to the risk of waterborne diseases.

There is currently a cholera outbreak in Bududa, with one registered cholera-related death and twenty-eight suspected or confirmed cases in health facilities. Background 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 EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.

The EU 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 ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.