In 2007, Poland transferred humanitarian aid amounting to PLN 4.07 million (USD 1.46 million). The main aid recipients were: Moldova, Sudan, the Palestinian Autonomy, Afghanistan, Mexico, Bangladesh, Peru, Korea, China and Burma. Moreover, PLN 1.42 million (USD 510,000) was transferred to Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF).
HUMANITARIAN AID TO MOLDOVA
The drought which struck Moldova in 2007 affected as much as 84% of all arable land in the country. It also led to a crisis in Moldova’s sensitive agricultural sector and instability in the country’s food security. This year’s Moldovan crops and yields of cultivated plants hit the lowest level in 60 years; experts describe the drought as the most extreme one on record. A special Committee for Extraordinary Circumstances at the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova was appointed, with an on-going analysis of the country’s food stability and co-ordination of foreign assistance as its aim. The Government of Poland allocated PLN 1 million (USD 360,000) to humanitarian aid in the Republic of Moldova in response to the appeal by Moldova’s President.
HUMANITARIAN AID TO SUDAN
As a result of the call for proposals of the Minister of Foreign Affairs amounting to PLN 1 million (USD 360,000), Polish Humanitarian Organisation Foundation received a grant to implement a humanitarian aid project. The project’s beneficiaries were in particular the refugees in camps of Western Darfur. Twenty deep wells were constructed in Kulbus district as part of the project. The wells facilitated access to potable water for approximately 15,000 people, 50 per cent of whom are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Polish Humanitarian Organisation implemented this project in collaboration with a local organisation, SUDO.
HUMANITARIAN AID TO PALESTINIAN AUTONOMY
Humanitarian aid to Palestinian Autonomy was indispensable as living conditions in the area deteriorated significantly in 2007. This was mainly due to the lack of contact between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Development assistance projects were implemented in the region as part of Polish aid programme. Moreover, in 2007, Palestinian Autonomy also received humanitarian aid amounting to PLN 419,000 (USD 150,000). The aid was transferred through the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and was utilised to purchase equipment for hospitals and health centres managed by the Palestinian Red Crescent.
HUMANITARIAN AID TO AFGHANISTAN
Afghanistan is a priority country of Polish aid programme. Humanitarian situation in the country deteriorated significantly in the third quarter of 2007 in connection with difficult weather conditions. Enabling displaced refugees to return to their homes is a very urgent problem in the region. Polish humanitarian aid, transferred through the National Red Crescent Society in Afghanistan, amounted to PLN 419,000 (USD 150,000).
HUMANITARIAN AID TO PERU
In August 2007, a 7.9 Richter scale earthquake struck Peru. It is estimated that 540 people lost their lives as a result of the earthquake and 1,600 were injured. Approximately 20,000 had to leave their homes and the number of people affected by the disaster totals more than 80,000. The cities of Pisco (more than 100,000 inhabitants), Ica and Chincha Alta were destroyed in 80 per cent. The Peruvian authorities evaluated the situation in the region of Ica (south of Lima) as tragic. The motorway linking the capital with the affected areas was to a large extent destroyed by the disaster, which significantly hampered reaching those in need. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to donate USD 100,000 to finance humanitarian aid to victims of the August earthquake in Peru. The Polish financial assistance, transferred to the people of Peru through the Peruvian Red Cross, will be utilised to purchase staple goods (warm clothing, sleeping bags, tents) and to assure potable water.
HUMANITARIAN AID TO MEXICO
Floods which affected the state of Tabasco at the beginning of November 2007 left about 80 per cent of the state’s territory under water. The flood caused massive damage: it is estimated that more than 2 million people were affected. Direct damage made by the disaster amounted to USD 2 million which makes it one of the most severe calamities in Mexico’s history. President of the Republic of Poland, Mr Lech Kaczyƒski, decided to allocate PLN 100,000 (USD 36,000) from the budget of President’s Chancellery to assist the affected population of Mexico. The financial resources were donated to Caritas Poland special account. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs donated a further PLN 265,000 (USD 95,0000) through the National Society of the Red Cross in Mexico.
HUMANITARIAN AID TO NORTH KOREA
Due to drastic food shortages after severe floods in North Korea taking place in August 2007, the Korean authorities appealed to the international community for aid. The floods led to massive human and material losses. 63,000 families, predominantly in the south of the country, lost their homes. Over 30,000 households were destroyed. Heavy rainfall also ruined infrastructure, including rail tracks, bridges and electric power grids. A significant proportion of arable land was flooded causing extreme difficulties, as North Korea had struggled to ensure the population’s food security even before the floods. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided North Korea with assistance worth PLN 140,000 (USD 50,000) in response to appeals to the international community for flood-related aid expressed by the Korean authorities. The aid funds were transferred through the World Health Organisation.
HUMANITARIAN AID TO CHINA
Massive floods in China in mid-2007 affected 82 million people; 5 million in different provinces were evacuated. Polish humanitarian aid amounting to PLN 112,000 (USD 40,000) was transferred through the Chinese Red Cross Association and it covered the reconstruction costs of one of the schools damaged by the flood and of building a new one.
HUMANITARIAN AID TO BURMA/MYANMAR
In 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (through Poland’s embassy in Thailand and Thai-Burma Border Consortium) supported Burmese refugees in Nu Po camp in Thailand. The aid amounted to PLN 56,000 PLN (USD 20,000).
HUMANITARIAN AID TO BANGLADESH
In mid-November 2007, Bangladesh was struck by hurricane Sidr which killed 4,000 people. It is estimated that about 2 million people lost their homes as a result of the disaster. In response to appeals launched by the international community and the Bangladeshi authorities, Poland transferred humanitarian aid amounting to PLN 335,000 PLN (USD 120,000) through the National Red Crescent Society in Bangladesh.
HUMANITARIAN AID TO LEBANON
Although the armed conflict between Lebanon and Hezbollah lasted just over 1 month, it managed to generate formidable losses and long-term consequences in the region. This is why Poland allocated PLN 1 million to the purchase of emergency goods for the people of Lebanon: tents, blankets and power generators to produce electricity in refugee camps. Humanitarian aid was transported to Beirut and Damascus in collaboration with the Ministry of National Defence. Subsequently, Polish Embassies transferred the aid to the Lebanese High Commission for Support and the Syrian National Red Crescent Movement, which later distributed it among those in the most severe need. At Donors Conference for Lebanon (August/September 2006), Poland declared further engagement in assistance activities in the region. The most significant part of the allocated amount, (PLN 4 million, USD 1.43 million) was expended in 2007. The resources were utilised to purchase, inter alia, 55 portakabins equipped with bathrooms and kitchen areas for the people of Tebnine in southern Lebanon. The MFA also co-financed two assistance projects which won the Minister’s call for proposals “Humanitarian aid to Lebanon”:
• Polish Humanitarian Organisation’s project: “Improvement of water supply system in Tiri and Rmaich” – amounting to PLN 250,000 PLN (USD 90,000);
• Polish Medical Mission’s project: “A healthy impulse – medical aid to local clinics in southern Lebanon and hospitals in Tebnine and Zahle” – amounting to over PLN 190,000 (USD 68,000).