As Southeast Asia is faced with the yearly monsoon season and its potentially devastating effects, the European Commission has released €6 million for disaster preparedness initiatives in the region.
This funding comes on top of the € 7 million announced in May to support Bangladesh scale up preparedness measures for the rainy season.
“From cyclones to floods, from landslides to droughts and earthquakes: natural hazards pose a recurring threat to the Southeast Asian countries, and the current monsoon rains battering the region are a sobering reminder. The EU believes in empowering communities to be better prepared in the face of natural disasters, and especially the most vulnerable, who are often the ones bearing the hardest brunt. Today’s assistance will strengthen the disaster preparedness initiatives already in place across the region, while improving the livelihoods and resilience of those most affected,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
From the funding announced today, €2 million will support Myanmar to build up the national response system against earthquakes and tsunamis, and to pilot disaster risk reduction and resilience-building initiatives in urban contexts.
Nepal will be assisted with an additional €2 million targeting the most vulnerable communities in earthquake-affected areas, to build local capacities and increase communities’ resilience.
In the Philippines, €1 million will support the implementation of disaster risk reduction and resilience-building initiatives with a special focus on urban poor populations living in hazard-prone areas. Finally, €1 million will focus on multi-country initiatives to strengthen response capacities at the regional level across Southeast Asia, including in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. This comes on top of the €200,000 in emergency assistance provided to Laos in the aftermath of the flooding that hit the southern part of the country last week.
With over 2 billion people, the densely populated Southeast Asian region is prone to a variety of natural disasters, with demographic pressure and poor urban planning making it even more vulnerable to increasingly frequent and intense natural hazards. In particular, flooding associated with the monsoon season is an annual event in most of the region.
The region’s exposure to natural disasters results in significant humanitarian needs. Notably, the most vulnerable households are often the most affected, particularly in remote regions and in situations where the high frequency of natural disasters is combined with the consequences of conflicts and violence.
In an effort to increase local communities’ resilience and reduce their vulnerability, the EU has supported disaster preparedness programmes in the region, with more than € 26 million to Nepal since 2001, almost € 12 million to Myanmar since 2010, and € 11 million to the Philippines since 1996.