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Sommaire: Disaster Preparedness Assistance: EU Commission provides €12m in humanitarian aid for Central America and Central Asia (13 February 2007: Brussels)
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The European Commission has approved two €6 million decisions in humanitarian aid to improve the capacities of local communities at risk to better prepare for and protect themselves against natural disasters in Central America and Central Asia. Funds will be channelled through the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. The funding will benefit the most vulnerable communities and their institutions.
ECHO's Disaster Preparedness programme (DIPECHO) has been operating since 1996 and has provided over €100 million for disaster prevention and preparedness interventions worldwide. This programme has proven its effectiveness in saving lives and livelihoods by developing local preparedness capacities to respond to natural disasters. Central America is one of the original regions for which this project was established in 1996, while Central Asia has been benefiting from DIPECHO funding since 2003.
Central America is principally exposed to natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, hurricanes, tropical storms, landslides, droughts and forest fires. The losses and destruction that result form these disasters are significant from a social and economic point of view and reduce the development potential of the region. This latest €6 million decision has been adopted under the Fifth DIPECHO Action Plan for Central America and will benefit over 850,000 vulnerable people in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
Central Asia is particularly vulnerable to both recurring and large-scale disasters resulting directly or indirectly from natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, mudslides, drought and floods. This new allocation, in the framework of the Fourth DIPECHO Action Plan for Central Asia will target the most vulnerable communities and their institutions. It is expected to benefit over 3 million people in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Interventions under both Action Plans will include infrastructure support, advocacy and public awareness-raising for local communities, small-scale mitigation works, mapping and data computerisation, education, development of early warning systems, research and dissemination, facilitation of coordination and institutional strengthening.
The projects will be implemented by the European Commission's operational partners, such as non governmental organisations, United Nations agencies and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, including national societies.
Together with the four previous Action Plans, DIPECHO Central America has committed over €21 million for the region. Since 2003, Central Asia has benefited from over €15 million through DIPECHO activities.
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