EU earmarks disaster relief fund

Kathmandu, February 16:

The European Commission has earmarked six million Euro from the humanitarian aid budget to step up its natural disaster preparedness efforts in South Asia, including in Nepal.

The funds will be channelled through the Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO) under the direct responsibility of commissioner Louis Michel, according to a press statement issued by European Commission in Kathmandu today. The assistance is aimed at improving the response capacity of the local population in one of the most natural disaster-prone regions of the world.

With its floods, landslides, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones and forest fires, South Asia — together with Southeast Asia — is one of the most natural disaster-prone regions of the world. Social and political structures, population pressure, building and agricultural practices and economic development combine to make South Asia’s population extremely vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters.

“Nepal is a country in the throes of a conflict ignored by the media, has come out as being in need of more substantial support. It is victim to disasters all year round and lives under constant threat of a major earthquake in the Kathmandu valley,” stated a press statement.