The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity towards 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. The European Commission ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance through its two main instruments: civil protection and humanitarian aid. The European Commission, through its Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO), helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the European Commission, through DG ECHO, provides assistance to the most vulnerable people solely on the basis of humanitarian needs.