Lao PDR (People's Democratic Republic) ranks among the poorest nations in South East Asia. Poverty reduction therefore remains the main challenge, particularly in rural and inaccessible mountainous areas where ethnic minorities are concentrated. Large parts of Lao PDR are prone to floods and droughts, and the country's vulnerability to such disasters has even increased over the last few years, as a result of illegal logging and deforestation, among other reasons. Lao PDR was affected significantly by the natural disasters which struck South East Asia in October 2011. Storms causing floods, landslides and the destruction of homes and livelihoods left inhabitants in need of temporary shelter, clean water and sanitation, primary health care, basic household items and hygiene awareness.
Due to a serious outbreak of malaria in 2012 in the central and southern provinces of Lao PDR, ECHO is committing €300,000 to treat patients and to help local authorities take preventative measures. Anti-malaria material such as nets will be distributed to over 100,000 people, local medical staff will be trained and local clinics will be re-stocked with the necessary medicines.
Following the floods in 2011, the EU released €21 million of aid for the affected countries across South East Asia, €2 million of which went to Lao PDR as emergency assistance and was used to provide Emergency water, sanitation, hygiene and shelter, better access to food, and basic health care to the affected communities. . To further assist communities in their recovery projects that provide cash grants, seeds and tools to support household gardening and livestock rearing. Training on livelihood skills and improved disaster preparedness are also financed by this funding.