European disaster response - more efficient, simpler, leaner?

Published:  30 September, 2011

As the EU, and the world, faces an increasing number of disasters, Italian EPP member Elisabetta Gardini is calling for more effective and coordinated disaster management and simplification of the "too bureaucratic" European Civil Protection Mechanism.

In a report   discussed and voted Tuesday, Ms Gardini calls on the European Commission to come up with proposals for an EU Civil Protection Force based on the Emergency Response Centre.

Worldwide, over the past 35 years the recorded number of annual disasters has risen fivefold to almost 400. In Europe alone over the past 20 years, such disasters have killed around 90,000, affected the lives of more than 29 million and caused €211 billion in damage.

Ms Gardini says more efficiency is needed at all stages of disaster management, including prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. She notes that it is particularly important to optimise resources during times of austerity.

The report underlines the need for better coordination to avoid duplication of effort and to ensure rapid and effective help for victims of disasters. It also highlights the need for greater solidarity among member states and says the focus should be on prevention as that is far more cost-effective than combating disaster.

The report calls for more research into the causes of droughts and forest fires.

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