September 8, 2005

EU parliament calls for better disaster responses

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Beset by drought, fires and
floods, the European Union must work harder to coordinate its
response to civil disasters, the European Parliament said on

Forest fires have ravaged southern Europe this summer, with
worst-hit Portugal seeing 240,000 hectares (600,000 acres)
burned. Portugal and Spain have experienced their worst
droughts ever recorded.

Further east, floods and torrential rain drenched
Switzerland, Germany, Austria and EU membership-candidates
Bulgaria and Romania.

The European Parliament resolution called for governments
and the executive Commission to pool knowledge and improve
early warning systems to detect disasters, suggesting the
creation of joint border civil protection teams.

"(The parliament) calls on the Commission and the member
states to work toward closer co-operation on civil protection
measures in the event of natural disasters," it said.

The 732-member assembly also urged greater international
action to fight climate change, blamed for the volatile weather