Brussels - The European Commission has allocated a further €11 million to the victims of the 2011 floods in South East Asia. This brings to €24 million the Commission's humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable among the 7.5 million people hit by the typhoons, storms and floods that affected the region towards the end of last year. People from four countries will benefit from this new funding: the Philippines, Lao, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response explained: "While the waters may have now receded the humanitarian needs have not. Although the cameras have left and the headlines have changed, we are not leaving until much-needed disaster prevention projects have been carried out. This is essential so that we are not helping people back to their feet only for them to get knocked down again in more floods next year".
These countries, well accustomed to storms and tropical depressions, endured floods caused by major typhoons in September, October and December 2011. The floods were on an exceptional scale, stretching the capacities of national and local authorities to their limits and beyond. In rural areas large tracts of farmland were ruined, in cities there was extensive infrastructural damage. As a result in the Philippines it is expected that at least 150,000 people will remain in need of aid throughout the coming months, in Cambodia estimates are as high as 250,000; in Vietnam, 200,000; in Lao, 70,000.
Today's €11 million will go towards the recovery and rehabilitation, filling any gaps that remain in national responses. The Commission's humanitarian aid is directed towards the most vulnerable groups and communities, among whom particular attention will be given to indigenous communities in the Pilipino region of Mindanao where nearly 1,300 people were killed last year in Cyclone Washi.
The €24 million of humanitarian assistance for the victims of the 2011 floods in South East Asia include €10 million of funding in October 2011 which went to five countries in the region following floods caused by typhoons and tropical depressions. Another €3 million of funding came in December for the victims of Cyclone Washi in the Philippines and the €11 million of follow-up funding today will go towards recovery in four of the region's countries.
This latest funding will go towards disaster risk reduction measures and activities aiming to increase the resilience of local communities to shocks caused by similar floods and typhoons in the future. Building resilience is considered as a fundamental first step in preventing similar hardship for these people due to floods, tropical depressions and typhoons that are very common in this region.
Funding disaster reduction projects of this nature, also gives a high economic return; for every €1 spent there is a saving of up to €7 when disaster strikes. The Commission has long been advocating for the effective and systematic integration of disaster risk reduction into development, economic and land planning.
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