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Brussels, 1 February 2010

Commission provides almost €7.3 million to reduce the impact of natural disasters in Central Asia

The European Commission has allocated €7.295 million to help Central Asian countries reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters and to boost the coping capacities of the most affected populations. The funds will be channelled through ECHO, Commission's Humanitarian Aid department.

Karel De Gucht, the Commissioner responsible for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "This funding will help vulnerable people in a region that is experiencing an increasing number of natural disasters to prepare and protect themselves better. It is vital to raise awareness among local populations about changes in their environment, and to give them the tools to adapt to climate change. Europe is reaching out to help the most vulnerable."

Since 2003, Central Asia has been targeted for funding in disaster preparedness and risk reduction. This latest decision will continue to fund local disaster management at community level, coordination mechanisms at local, national and regional levels; public awareness-raising,training and education; early warning systems, exchanges of know-how, mitigation works and stock-building of relief items.

The projects will be implemented by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international organisations including United Nations agencies.

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