EU activates civil protection system to aid Japan

12:44, March 12, 2011      

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The European Commission has activated the European Civil Protection Mechanism to provide assistance in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday.

Japan has requested search and rescue teams and search dogs for ongoing operations, said Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian aid and Crisis Response..

"Japan is one of the best-prepared countries in the world to cope with disasters, but the sheer magnitude of this earthquake and the tsunami means that international assistance is needed. We are responding to the call as urgently as possible," Georgieva said in a statement.

"Europe's civil protection system has been fully mobilized to help Japan overcome this immense tragedy," the Commissioner added.

The European Commission's humanitarian and civil protection department (ECHO) is continuously monitoring the situation in Japan and the other countries where tsunamis could hit, according to the press release, and two teams of European civil protection experts, currently in Indonesia, stand ready for deployment to the affected area if needed.

The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response. Thirty-one states participate in the Mechanism (EU-27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). They pool resources that can be made available through the Mechanism to disaster-stricken countries all over the world.

Source: Xinhua

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