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Humanitarian aid 2008

China: assistance for earthquake victims

The strongest earthquake in over thirty years struck China on May 12. A day after the disaster, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski took the decision to allocate PLN 220 thousand in humanitarian aid for China. In view of the urgent need to provide shelter for victims, the Minister of National Defense approved the donation of 160 sets of 6-man tents worth PLN 1.26 million. Furthermore, the Polish Government conveyed through the Polish Embassy in Beijing the amount of EUR 14 thousand for the purchase of  relief supplies.

Burma: help for cyclone victims

Cyclone Nargis hit Burma/Myanmar on the night of May 2, causing the severest humanitarian disaster in the country's history. It was also the most devastating cyclone to strike Asia since 1991, affecting a total of 2.5 million people.  The most serious damage was reported in coastal areas, particularly in the town of Bogolay in the Irawadi River delta. In view of the tragic aftermath of the cyclone, the Minister of Foreign Affairs granted PLN 0.5 million  in relief funds conveyed through UNICEF, which initially coordinated the relief operation. That was the fastest way of delivering Polish aid to the population of Burma. UNICEF started assessing the damage and providing humanitarian aid  immediately after the disaster. On May 6 the European Commission announced that EUR 2 million was being allocated for humanitarian aid to Burma.

Kyrgyzstan: food for earthquake victims

A powerful quake struck the southern part of Kyrgyzstan in early 2008. Its epicenter was located in Fergana Valley, near the city of Osh. According to the authorities, the quake was measured at 5.6 on the Richter scale and damaged over a thousand buildings. Almost two thousand families were displaced. The disaster occurred during severe winter weather, which additionally worsened the situation of the victims.  The Polish government conveyed through the Kyrgyz Red Crescent  Society the sum of EUR 25 thousand  to purchase  food (noodles, flour, cooking oil, rice) for the victims.  Distribution to the affected areas was conducted in collaboration with the Regional Representation of the Red Crescent, the Kyrgyz Ministry for Crisis Situations and  local elders.  The assistance reached 300 families in four towns of the Osh District.  The fact that the region struck by the quake is among the poorest in Kyrgyzstan (as evidenced, among others, by the use of sub-standard building materials) means that natural disasters in the region, even of low intensity, result in extensive damage.

Ukraine: flood relief

A disastrous flood in western Ukraine in late July in the provinces of Lviv, Ivano-Franivsk, Zakarpattia, Chernivitsi and Vinnytsia caused 30 human casualties and enormous property damage. The flood damaged or destroyed transport infrastructure, including bridges, roads and railway lines. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded by conveying PLN 1.5 million in aid to the Ukrainian government. Additionally, rescue operations in Ukraine were conducted in the affected areas by two units of the Polish State Fire Service.

Georgia: assistance for victims of the armed conflict

Responding to the hardship experienced by many Georgians in connection with the armed conflict, Poland conveyed medical supplies to hospitals in areas most affected by the conflict. The aid was  transported  from Warsaw to Tbilisi  by a CASA 295M aircraft on August 14 thanks to the concerted efforts of the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Interior and Administration and Caristas Poland. The shipment included disinfectants, drugs, medical equipment (including limb immobilization splints) and blood-based medical products with total weight of 4.7 tons. The distribution was handled by the Polish Embassy in Tbilisi.

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