The EU has announced it will deliver €7m in humanitarian aid for disaster preparedness in the regions of Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.
The funding, which supplements the €17m already deployed to support communities affected by cyclones Idai and Kenneth earlier this year, will be distributed primarily in Comoros, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe; and brings the EU’s total aid contribution to disaster preparedness and relief in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean states to more than €125m since 2014. The region is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters including cyclones, droughts and floods, all of which are increasing both in frequency and severity as a result of climate change.
The aid package will go towards supporting schemes including:
- Implementing technology in disaster response protocols, for example through mass texting to inform citizens and the use of emergency management drones;
- Improving levels of preparedness and response both among communities vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters and civil protection authorities, through raising awareness of risk management, developing contingency plans and strengthening early warning systems; and
- Boosting the capability of schools in disaster-hit regions to continue to provide education in emergencies by establishing safe educational facilities, teaching children how to stay safe during a natural disaster and in its immediate aftermath; and training teachers in early warning responses.
Christos Stylianides, the EU’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said: “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 addition to allocating humanitarian aid for disaster preparedness in the region, the EU intends to distribute a further €10m to support vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe, which is experiencing an ongoing humanitarian crisis due to a combination of economic and climate-related factors. The funding will go towards providing food, healthcare, water and sanitation; as well as resilience building.