EU presents proposal to improve disaster response

08:52, October 27, 2010      

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The European Commission presented on Tuesday a proposal aiming at reinforcing the European Union (EU) 's capacity to act on civil protection and humanitarian assistance and to respond to disasters both within and outside the bloc.

The Commission proposed to put on standby equipment and expertise that can be mobilized immediately and deployed whenever a disaster strikes or a country asks for help.

Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva suggested setting up link information about the type of threats faced by a country with the assets needed to respond to such disasters.

"We proposed to identify the standby assets member states can share voluntarily and make them available for fast European response. To deploy these resources as fast as possible, we want to make sure transportation logistics is in place," Georgieva said.

The commissioner also said the EU should better coordinate its response with other countries' and organizations' actions, such as the aid provided by the United Nations.

"The world is changing and the number of disasters worldwide has risen fivefold since 1975," Georgieva said.

"In a situation where every hour counts the European Union needs a system that guarantees the availability of key assets for immediate deployment. We can not afford to wait for the next mega disaster before we take action," she added.

In order to ensure immediate deployment of assets, the Commission proposed setting up a European Emergency Response Capacity and a European Emergency Response Center, a new platform for more effective EU coordination whenever disasters strike.

The Commission also suggested reinforcing the bloc's input in the overall coordination in post-disaster situations carried out by the United Nations, and increasing visibility of the work done by the EU in its disaster response operations.

Source: Xinhua


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