What are the needs?
Laos (Lao 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 Laos 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.
Storms, floods and landslides often create humanitarian needs such as food assistance, temporary shelter, clean water and sanitation, primary healthcare and basic household items and livelihood support. Outbreaks of tropical diseases such as dengue and malaria put an additional strain on local health services, and preventive action is required at community level.
How are we helping?
Since 1998, the EU has provided some €17 million in response to disasters and epidemics in the country, including life-saving assistance to combat malaria and dengue outbreaks in the central and southern parts of the country. In addition, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has been supporting Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) projects to help communities better prepare for natural disasters and contribute to building their resilience with €4.2 million since 1998.
Most recently, ECHO allocated around €1.2 million to Laos under the Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) for Southeast Asia for the period 2014-2015.
At the end of 2013, ECHO channelled €166 000 through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies following the devastating effects of cyclone Wutip, which brought heavy rainfall to the southern provinces of Champasak, Salavan, Xekong and Attapeu. The funds were used to provide basic food and non-food items to 10 000 beneficiaries (2 000 families).