Investing in EU disaster prevention is a small price to pay

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The world is now a very different place to the one we knew several decades ago. The social, economic, technological and industrial development we have witnessed over the years has brought enormous costs in terms of vulnerabilities, interdependencies and risks.

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During the summer of 2021, countries in western Europe including Belgium and Germany suffered from devastating floods resulting in almost 200 deaths and damages estimated at more than €3.7 million.

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Disaster prevention not only saves lives, but builds resilience, costs less, and can often mean the difference between disaster and resilience. The need to tackle these disasters and invest in prevention together is needed now more than ever.

In 2020 alone, the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) recorded a total of 389 natural disasters worldwide, which resulted in 15,000 lives lost, affected 98 million people and caused $171 million in damage. These are numbers we must try to reverse, whatever the cost.

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In 2017, Portugal suffered an unprecedented wave of forest fires. We lost more than 60 lives, which we very much regret. An urgent shift was needed; it called for an inversion in the manner in which we deal with these situations.

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