European Commission proposes disaster relief

The European Commission has proposed EUR 9.49 million in disaster aid to help Latvia recoup losses suffered from a Jan. 9 storm that smashed into the country’s Baltic Sea coastline.

The commission announced Aug. 22 that it is proposing a total aid package of nearly EUR 93 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund to help Sweden and the three Baltic republics.

The storm’s hurricane-force winds did an estimated EUR 192 million in damage to Latvia, including uprooting trees, downing power lines and ripping roofs off buildings, the commission said. Latvia’s western coast, including the port cities of Liepāja and Ventspils, received the brunt of the storm, but its effects were felt as far as Rīga and beyond.

However, hardest hit was southern Sweden, where nine people died and losses totalled nearly EUR 2.3 billion.

The money would reimburse the countries for expenses such as rescue services, cleanup of disaster-stricken areas and restoration of basic infrastructure to working condition, the commission said.

Following devasting floods in Central Europe in August 2002, the fund was established as a way to help EU members and asceding countries deal with major natural disasters. The European Commission proposes the aid package, which then must be approved by the European Parliament and the European Council.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *