EC pledges 7.5m euros for South Asia

Kathmandu, October 12:

The European Commission (EC) has allocated 7.5 million euro from the humanitarian aid budget to improve the capacities of communities at risk in South Asia, so that they can better prepare for and protect themselves against natural disasters.

A total of 26 new projects are receiving EC funding in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

They will target the most vulnerable local communities and their institutions, those at greatest risk from natural hazards and with the lowest coping capacities, so that they will be better able to save lives and protect livelihoods if a disaster strikes, according to a press release issued today.

The funds are channelled through the EC’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO) under the direct responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. With this, the EC is underlining its commitment to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.

This funding also aims to improve advocacy for Disaster Risk Reduction measures by means of better exchange of information in the region, documentation of lessons learned and best practices which can be replicated and therefore sustained by the relevant authorities in each country.

Regional cooperation will also be encouraged with ECHO’s support to the SAARC commitments to Disaster Risk Reduction by giving concrete examples of life-saving activities within disaster preparedness projects.

South Asia is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, hurricanes/cyclones, tropical storms, drought and avalanches and cold waves. The losses and destruction that result from such disasters are very significant from a social and economic point of view and reduce the development potential of the region.

The region is also frequently hit by small-scale disasters which affect communities already very vulnerable, causing considerable damage to their livelihood. This highlights the ongoing need for disaster preparedness activities and the significance of community-based disaster risk reduction efforts enabling the communities concerned to mitigate hazards and prepare themselves for future natural disasters This funding is supported under the fourth Action Plan, following up on similar projects implemented in South Asia since 2002. The strategy has been defined in close cooperation with non-governmental and international organisations, community representatives, local authorities and other stakeholders, within the framework of consultative meetings.