News / Europe

    EU Offers Aid in Hungary's Toxic Flooding

    European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva describes the EU's humanitarian aid projects to the media in Brussels (File Photo)
    European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva describes the EU's humanitarian aid projects to the media in Brussels (File Photo)

    European Union crisis response chief Kristalina Georgieva says massive toxic flooding in Hungary that killed nine people and injured more than 120 others has underscored the need for a stronger European disaster response.

    The European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva announced in Budapest the European Union will provide machinery, vehicles and materials to help Hungary overcome its worst industrial accident on record.

    Since October 4 about 800,000 cubic-meters of toxic sludge, a byproduct of aluminum production, has leaked from a reservoir of a metals plant in western Hungary, flooding towns and villages in an area as large as 40 square kilometers.

    Speaking after talks with Hungarian government officials, Georgieva said the EU support is aimed at assisting Hungary in protecting civilians and to clean up the poisonous red mud.

    Experts from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden are to investigate the sludge, and Georgieva said that team provides European assistance similar to that given to the United States during its recent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

    But she stressed cash-strapped Hungary would not receive additional money from the EU solidarity fund because the chemical spill was allegedly caused by human error and the damage does not equal at least 0.6 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

    Instead, Georgieva said, the European Union is "considering" transferring funds for more general rural development and environmental protection projects.

    Before her talks began in Hungary, the EU commissioner said individual countries are mainly responsible for disaster response.

    "The primary responsibility for disaster prevention, for preparedness and response lays with national governments," she said. "But there are a number of ways in which we at European level can contribute and must carry our responsibility. More than 90 percent of our citizens expect from Europe coherent, coordinated disaster response. We owe it to them."

    Georgieva says Hungary's chemical accident underscores the need for what she calls "a stronger, better, more visible European disaster response."

    Hungary's troubles follow flooding in other parts of Central and Eastern Europe.

    The European Union estimates that disasters have increased globally fivefold since 1975, matched by a similar rise in damages. The figures also show that disasters annually take 85,000 lives, affect 230 million others, and cause economic damage of about a quarter of the world's gross domestic product.

    Georgieva believes Europe is not yet ready to respond quickly to these kind of tragedies.

    "Our capacity to deal with disasters grows in a much slower pace than the disasters themselves," she said. "The time when we have been arguing on how to do it must come to an end."

    Commissioner Georgieva, who has visited villages and towns devastated by toxic flooding, plans to present a European strategy for disaster response by the end of this month.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.