EU-Chile: Laying the foundations for a closer cooperation in disaster management and risk reduction

EU-Chile: Laying the foundations for a closer cooperation in disaster management and risk reduction

Brussels, 25 November 2011 – The EU and Chile agreed to strengthen cooperation in disaster management, in particular in the field of disaster risk reduction. A Letter of Intent has been signed by the European Commission and the National emergency Office of Chile (ONEMI), providing for closer collaboration in improving disaster prevention and preparedness, mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change.

There for the occasion were Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, and Fernando Schmidt, Deputy Minister of External Relations of Chile, who met today in Brussels to discuss closer cooperation in disaster management between the EU and Chile.

Background

Since the earthquake on February 27th, 2010, ECHO has increased its Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities in Chile. A series of initiatives have been implemented :
In the response to this earthquake and tsunami, disaster risk reduction components were mainstreamed into response projects through:

  • an analysis of emergency telecommunications;
  • the installation of radio equipment to complete the Chilean Red Cross' radio network;
  • donations to the Emergency Response Unit of the Chilean and Spanish Red Cross societies to help them purchase equipment to respond to emergencies;
  • promoting Safe Hospital methodology with the technical expertise of Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

Some regional activities were implemented before the earthquake including three Early Warning Systems in the communities of Bio-Bio-Tomé, Penco and Coronel in Chile which were severely affected by the tsunami. Community based awareness and training were provided to affected communities, helping to reduce their vulnerability and be better prepared for future events.

As part of ECHO's DIPECHO programme for 2011-2012, two national and three regional projects are being implemented in Chile. ONEMI (Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior) and other national authorities as well as local authorities are strongly supporting the projects and are highly committed to continue working and strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction nationwide. This is particularly true in the region of Maule and Bio Bio, where local governments are funding 51% of the UNDP DIPECHO project; which shows the great commitment of authorities and the need to continue working on strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction in those regions.

The signing of this letter of intent is yet another step in a now strong, cross-continental  relationship in the field of disaster risk reduction between the EU and South America.

 

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