South America

What are the needs?
South America is highly exposed to natural disasters such as landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis. Floods and droughts are recurrent in the region. These phenomena affect thousands and underline the vulnerability of populations living below the poverty line, as well as those in remote areas with limited access to services, especially indigenous groups. When a disaster occurs, the main needs of the affected population are temporary shelter, food, clean water, primary health care, household items and clothes.
How are we helping?
Since 1994, the EU’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has provided €182.8 million in humanitarian aid to South America, excluding the funds allocated to Colombia due to the armed conflict.
Emergency response
After the 2014 flooding in Bolivia and Paraguay, the EU allocated almost €1 million to help the most affected populations with shelter, safe water, and plants and seeds for farmers to regain their livelihoods. In Bolivia, support to health services once the water receded was part of the EU response.
Following the floods in 2013, the EU released €1.2 million to help bring relief to the victims in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. The previous rainy season in 2012 also caused flooding in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru, and the EU allocated €5.6 milion to fund humanitarian operations.
The EU has assisted in all major disasters in the region, such as in 2010, when an 8.8 magnitude earthquake followed by a tsunami killed 500 people and damaged or destroyed 370 000 houses in Chile. The EU gave €3 million in emergecy funding for temporary shelter, mobile hospitals and telecommunications, and stepped up its disaster preparedness activities in Chile. The EU has also intervened to respond to dengue in areas of Bolivia and Peru. 
Preparing communities for future disasters
Besides helping in emergencies, ECHO works to empower communities and local disaster response teams, to be better prepared to face natural hazards and take measures which allow them to prevent a hazard from becoming a disaster. This is mainly done through the Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO). DIPECHO works by identifying the risks first, and then taking simple and inexpensive measures to minimise them, hence reducing the impact of natural phenomena. These include strengthening emergency response capacities, improving infrastructures, and conducting awareness-raising campaigns.
The EU has invested €67.1 million, more than one third of its humanitarian funds for South America, in disaster preparedness activities across the region. The 2013-2014 programme targets communities in 10 countries – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela – with an allocation of €14.55 million for disaster preparedness projects and operations to improve resilience against droughts.