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Reducing Disaster Risks and Improving Responses in Europe and Central Asia

May 7, 2012

BUCHAREST/BRATISLAVA (May 7-11, 2011) – Supporting families affected by disasters requires immediate, comprehensive and collaborative actions. Long after humanitarian aid organizations have completed their relief work, the need for quality shelter and housing remains for months and years.

Habitat’s Disaster Response program focuses on the housing needs that arise from natural disasters and humanitarian emergency conflicts. At the same time, through the design and implementation of adaptation mechanisms, communities can tackle predictable disasters and better cope with the impact of climate change. Habitat integrates disaster risk reduction initiatives into its shelter, housing and settlement program platforms.

Habitat for Humanity Europe and Central Asia has been working to increase disaster preparedness, mitigation, as well as response and recovery capabilities in the region over the past 12 month. Habitat’s work has focused on strengthening four programs: Armenia, Romania, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. This initiative has been made possible with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (www.SNF.org).

In the second week of May, 20 participants from Armenia, Romania, Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan, Slovakia and Germany will gather for a 5-day training in Bucharest, Romania. The primary aim is to train Habitat staff to respond to both small and large scale disasters, effectively, economically and efficiently. It will also demonstrate strategies of incorporating disaster risk reduction and mitigation into regular construction programs, and pull together the Habitat’s Disaster Response Community of Practice in the Europe and Central Asia region.

On May 10, the training will be preceded with a ‘Power Breakfast’, a discussion with current and potential partners and sponsors of Disaster Response on effective approaches to reducing disaster risks and improving response actions. The training will be attended by Habitat International’s Senior Director of Disaster Response, Kip Schneider, as well as representatives of the Europe and Central Asia area office and national programs of Armenia, Romania, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

About Stavros Niarchos Foundation
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (www.SNF.org) is one of the world’s leading international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and medicine, and social welfare. The Foundation funds organizations and projects that exhibit strong leadership and sound management and are expected to achieve a broad, lasting and positive social impact. The Foundation also seeks actively to support projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as effective means for serving public welfare.

About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by building and improving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. An estimated 17,000 of these families are in Europe and Central Asia, where Habitat has been active since the mid-1990s. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit http://www.habitateurope.org.