The Mekong region – consisting of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – is frequently affected by natural hazards such as floods, droughts, and typhoons.
With most of the population in these 3 countries mainly relying on agriculture, people’s means to earn a living are often impacted by recurrent disasters and irregular seasonal patterns.
In the region, the EU focuses on community resilience and disaster preparedness. When disasters strike, we also support the delivery of emergency relief items such as housing repair kits, hygiene kits, drinking water and unconditional cash grants to the most vulnerable.
What are the needs?
Storms, droughts and landslides destroy homes and income opportunities and leave communities requiring shelter, food or medical assistance. Outbreaks of diseases such as dengue, malaria and COVID-19 put an additional strain on local health services.
Providing access to the affected populations living in remote areas can be challenging, especially when road infrastructure is damaged or unsuited for vehicles.
In Cambodia, 90% of the poor live in rural areas where seasonal monsoon rains and flash floods cause recurrent and widespread destruction.
In neighbouring Laos, deforestation, illegal logging, and dam breaks make people even more vulnerable to recurring natural hazards. Disasters also take place against the background of widespread poverty, especially in rural and inaccessible mountain areas.
With its long coastline, tropical cyclones and storms regularly occur in Vietnam. While the local capacity to respond to natural hazards has improved in the last decade, emergency support is needed whenever large-scale disasters strike.
How are we helping?
In 2022, the EU committed close to €4.9 million to support disaster preparedness programmes in several Southeast Asian countries. Part of the funding is dedicated to strengthening disaster preparedness in the Mekong region.
These programmes aim to reduce the risk of vulnerable people being affected by natural hazards and improve local and national response capacities.
The programmes also explore new financing systems, disaster prevention and preparedness actions or initiatives to strengthen social protection.
EU humanitarian funding ensures that vulnerable communities and national institutions are equipped with means to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to, various humanitarian crises, including public health emergencies.
The EU regularly funds humanitarian assistance to address the needs arising from recurrent natural hazards in the Mekong region.
In 2020, the EU allocated €1.9 million to address the pressing needs of people affected by severe floods in the lower Mekong region.
EU humanitarian aid ensured unconditional cash transfers to help affected families cover their basic needs. The aid also included access to clean water, sanitation facilities and the promotion of good hygiene practices.
Following a drought and saltwater intrusion that affected large parts of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in 2020, the EU provided €60,000 in humanitarian funding. This allowed for a swift distribution of drinking water and ensured adequate hygiene practices among affected communities.
Since 2009, the EU’s total humanitarian aid to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos exceeded €43 million, including €38 million for disaster preparedness activities.
Last updated: 01/03/2023
Facts & figures
Funding for disaster preparedness:
€4.9 million in 2022 for Southeast Asia
Over €38 million since 2009
EU humanitarian funding:
More than €43 million since 2009