The European Commission is making available €12.3 million to strengthen the capacity of countries across Asia and the Pacific to prepare for and protect themselves from recurring natural disasters.
"The European Commission's funding will help people in countries in Asia and the Pacific to increase their preparedness when disasters strike. The funds will support projects aiming to reduce the impact of natural hazards and build resilience amongst the most vulnerable communities in 11 countries across the region. It is of paramount importance that people in these vulnerable countries are given the necessary means and knowledge to face these recurrent events in the best possible way”, said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
The EU funds will be provided to humanitarian partner organisations, such as international non-governmental organisations, UN agencies and the Red Cross and Red Crescent family, to implement projects in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, North Korea, Nepal, Mongolia, Vietnam, Myanmar/Burma and Thailand.
Almost half of the world’s natural disasters last year – 160 out of 344 recorded globally – occurred in Asia and the Pacific, causing large-scale losses of lives and assets. According to the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, catastrophic events resulted in the deaths of more than 16 000 people and affected close to 59.3 million others across the region in 2015.
The Asia and Pacific region encompasses a broad array of high-risk zones such as river basins, flood plains, seismic fault lines and volcanic landforms. Its vast and diverse landmass allows for varied and extreme weather patterns, ranging from floods to cyclones and droughts. Climate change, rapid urbanisation and rising population densities in disaster-prone areas may result in even more frequent and intense hazards in the future.
Since 1996, the European Commission has funded a number of disaster preparedness programmes across Asia and the Pacific with more than €140 million. These initiatives typically focus on providing most-at-risk populations with better know-how and practical training whilst supporting the involvement of local, regional and national authorities.
In addition to dedicated disaster preparedness initiatives, the Commission also encourages the integration of disaster risk reduction interventions into all EU-funded humanitarian operations.