Natural hazards such as earthquakes, droughts, floods, wildfires, and extreme winter weather affect a range of countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia (EMCA). In addition, rapid urban growth and environmental degradation in some countries have led to overcrowding and settlement in hazard-prone areas. Protracted conflict and limited governmental disaster management capacity in many EMCA countries compound the risks associated with natural disasters.
Recognizing the vulnerabilities present throughout the EMCA region, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) supports disaster risk reduction (DRR) projects to save lives, alleviate suffering, and reduce the economic and social impact of disasters. Programs measure and analyze disaster risks to identify and then implement risk-reduction solutions. USAID/OFDA provides technical assistance and technology transfer to build communities’ and local governments’ capacity to prepare for and respond to disasters. USAID/OFDA also supports activities such as seismic-resistant shelter construction and hazard mapping. In FY 2012, USAID/OFDA provided more than $3.7 million for DRR projects throughout the EMCA region, including programs that integrate DRR with disaster response.