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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid