EU to provide €7 million for disaster preparedness in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region
The EU is supplying €7 million to strengthen the capacity of vulnerable communities and authorities to both prepare for and respond to disasters in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. This provision of humanitarian aid is in addition to the total of around €17 million in EU assistance supplied in March and April of this year to those impacted by cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Comoros, and people affected by food shortages in Zimbabwe.
The Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, said with the news of this aid package, “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.”
In the South African and Indian Ocean region, extreme weather-related disasters such as cyclones, floods, and droughts, are a common occurrence. Along with rapid climate change, the frequency and intensity of these natural disasters is only on the rise.
This EU humanitarian assistance package is meant to support:
enhancing the preparedness and response capacities of local civil defense staff and communities at risk of natural disasters. This includes the reinforcement of early warning systems, raising awareness about risks, and the preparation of contingency plans;
utilizing technology and innovative strategies for disaster preparedness, such as, drones and bulk mobile text messaging, to assist communities in rapid response and prevention of the loss of life and property;
sustaining schools to continue delivering education when natural disasters strike. Affected areas are at risk of education services coming to a halt and leaving children out of school for several months. To minimise this potential disruption, some EU-funded actions include the promotion of safe learning facilities, the training of teachers in early warning systems, and educating children on safety practices.
The European Union has supported the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region with over €125 million in humanitarian aid since 2014. This aid has been purposed for disaster preparedness funding, emergency relief response, and food assistance.
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