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Co-ordinated disaster response will save lives

27 September, 2011 - by Martina Anderson MEP


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has supported greater EU co-ordination in responding to disasters around the world, and has insisted the EU ensure that "disaster relief is never subordinate to trading or political and strategic concerns"

Speaking in the European Parliament today Ms de Brún said:

"Last year 90,000 people died and 29 million people were affected as a result of disasters. This number could have been drastically reduced through a greater focus on prevention and preparedness. We can also improve our response to the increasing number of disaster events if we work together and pool our resources.

"If we plan our development in a way that makes us less vulnerable to disaster, it can save countless human lives.  It can also reduce social, economic and environmental devastation due to natural hazards and, increasingly, the devastation related to technological and environmental disasters.

"Disaster response begins with prevention and preparedness. I urge the European Commission and the Member States to invest more in disaster reduction and to improve the effectiveness of disaster response in a spirit of solidarity. Clarity, consistence and coherence are the main pillars on which to build a strong and operative European disaster response system.

"We must ensure that disaster relief is never subordinate to trading or political and strategic concerns. EU humanitarian aid should be provided irrespective of all political considerations, while adhering to internationally agreed humanitarian principles"

"I am delighted that Commissioner Georgieva agreed wholeheartedly with me in the European Parliament today that we must respect the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence when we provide humanitarian assistance." ENDS

Below is the full text of the speech given by Ms de Brún during the European Parliament debate on the report on "European disaster response: role of civil protection and humanitarian assistance" by Elisabetta Gardini MEP.

"Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh thuarascáil Elisabetta Gardini agus gabhaim buíochas le Bean Gardini as ucht an dea-oibre.  Gabhaim buíochas léi ach go háirithe as an chomhoibriú a rinne sí linn agus í ag glacadh moltaí agus leasuithe s'againne san áireamh.

"Is páirt thábhachtach de fhorbairt inbhuanaithe é laghdú tubaiste. Má phleanálaimid ár bhforbairt ar bhealach a gcuidíonn le riosca tubaiste a laghdú is féidir líon mór beathaí a shábháil. Is féidir léirscrios sóisialta, eacnamaíochta agus comhshaoil, de dheasca guaiseanna nádúrtha, a laghdú agus de réir a chéile, an léirscrios a bhaineann le tubaiste teicneolaíoch agus comhshaoil a laghdú lena chois.

"Tosaíonn freagairt tubaiste le cosc agus le hullmhacht. Gríosaím an Coimisiún Eorpach agus na Ballstáit chun níos mó infheistíochta a dhéanamh i laghdú tubaiste agus chun éifeachtúlacht freagairt tubaiste a fheabhsú de mheon dlúthpháirtíochta.

"Is iad soiléireacht, comhsheasmhacht agus comhleanúnachas na príomhcholúin ar a dtógtar córas freagartha tubaiste Eorpach atá oibritheach láidir.

"Tá sé tábhachtach go mbeadh comhordú cuí ann le go dtig linn cúnamh éifeachtúil daonnúil a sholáthar.  Ach caithfear cloí le prionsabail daonnúla tábhachtacha chomh maith - neamhchlaontacht, neodracht agus neamhspleáchas san áireamh.  Caithfimid a chinntiú go gcuirtear i bhfeidhm an dlí daonnúil

idirnáisiúnta. 

"Is gá dúinn a chinntiú nach dtéann cúrsaí polaitiúla agus straitéiseacha i bhfeidhm ar chinntí maidir le dáileadh cúnaimh.  Ba chóir cúnamh daonnúil AE a sholáthar beag beann ar gach machnamh polaitiúil agus ag an am céanna, ag cloí le prionsabail dhaonnúla aontaithe idirnáisiúnta."

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