EU Solidarity Fund aid totalling €38 million to repair earthquake and flood damage in Spain and Italy was approved by Parliament's Budgets Committee on Monday.
To repair damage caused by the earthquakes Lorca (Murcia region) in May this year, Spain requested €21.1 million from the EU Solidarity Fund. The two consecutive earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.2 resulted in nine people dying, more than 300 injured, and a further 10,000 evacuated.
The disaster also caused widespread damage to residential, public and business areas, as well as cultural heritage sites, the road network, and basic infrastructure. The total direct cost of the damage caused by the earthquakes is an estimated €842.8 million.
Italy, where heavy rain in late October and early November 2010 caused severe flooding in the Veneto region, requested €16.9 million from the EU Solidarity Fund. The effects of the rain were aggravated by a warm Mediterranean "Sirocco" wind that melted the snow in the nearby mountains, causing significant damages to road and infrastructure networks, agriculture, businesses, and homes. The direct cost of the damage done by the flooding is estimated at €3.7 billion.
The two aid requests, totalling €38 million, will be met out of unspent funds for rural development programmes. This will require an amending budget, the seventh this year, which must be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers.
The aid and the amending budget needed to cover the payments will need approval by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers. Parliament's votes are expected to be on the agenda for the December II plenary in Strasbourg.
In the chair: Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR)