“Because of climate change, the region is witnessing intense fluctuations in weather patterns, such as changing temperatures and precipitation patterns, intense storms and rising sea levels,” the Commission warns in a synopsis of humanitarian aid operations.
It says natural disasters ranging from cyclones to floods, droughts and earthquakes frequently occur in the Pacific region.
With a total population of 10 million people spread across a vast area, the death toll and number of victims of natural disasters may appear low in standard disaster statistics – however, the Pacific countries rank among the highest in casualties and people affected per number of inhabitants.
Environmental degradation and the negative impact of climate change combine with these catastrophes, it says.
The European Union has provided more than 12.4 million euros to support disaster preparedness programmes in the Pacific since 2009.