As natural disasters threaten the most vulnerable people in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, the EU is providing €7 million in humanitarian aid to increase the capacity of communities and authorities to prepare for and respond to disasters. This aid is in addition to the approximately €17 million in EU humanitarian assistance given this year to help people hit by cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Comoros, and people affected by food shortages in Zimbabwe.
“Investing in natural disaster preparedness is an investment to save lives when the next crisis hits. The Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region is particularly vulnerable. Through our new aid package, the EU is also supporting modern technologies such as drones as we increasingly see how they can save lives during emergencies when every minute counts,” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
This EU humanitarian aid package will support:
- improving the preparedness and response capacities of local civil protection staff and communities at risk of natural disasters. This includes the strengthening of early warning systems, awareness raising about risks, and the preparation of contingency plans;
- using technology and innovative approaches in disaster preparedness – such drones and bulk mobile text messaging – to help communities to respond fast and avert the loss of life and property;
- helping schools to continue delivering education when natural disasters strike. In such events, education servicesin the affected area can come to a halt and children can remain out of school for several months. To minimise this disruption, EU-funded actions include the promotion of safe learning facilities, the training of teachers in early warning, and informing children on how to stay safe.
Since 2014, the European Union has supported the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region with over €125 million in humanitarian aid for disaster preparedness funding, emergency relief response, and food assistance. The EU fully subscribes to international processes on disaster preparedness and response, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Grand Bargain commitments on early action.
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Related document: EU research for a secure society: Disaster-resilient societies: 2018