The world's ability to cope with the consequences of natural disasters is set to come under increasing strain in the future, European officials said in a bleak warning Friday.
"We are facing a considerable growth in humanitarian catastrophes linked to extreme climate phenomena... The international humanitarian system will be subjected to growing pressure in the coming years," a spokesman for the European Commission told journalists.
"That's not my assessment: it was one shared last week by (EU Aid Commissioner) Louis Michel and UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes," he added.
The warning came on the heels of a Commission decision to release a million euro (1.37 million dollars) in immediate aid to Nicaragua, which was hit this week by hurricane Felix - the second category-five (maximum strength) hurricane to have hit the Caribbean in a month.
"According to experts, it's extremely rare to see two category-five hurricanes in the same year. Now we have seen two in the space of three weeks, which is utterly exceptional," the spokesman said.
And it followed a deluge of weather-related disasters which struck around the globe in August, with the EC sending a total of 18.5 million euro in aid to flood-stricken India, Nepal, Bangladesh, North Korea, Colombia and Sudan, and to hurricane victims in the Caribbean.
In the light of the spiralling number of climate-related crises, the EC and UN are discussing ways to improve their ability to react to disasters, the coordination of relief efforts and their financing of systems aimed at preparing vulnerable areas against future threats, the spokesman said.
Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2007, 19:12