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Brussels, 31 May 2006

EU response to Indonesia earthquake

Following the earthquake that struck Indonesia near the Javanese city of Yogyakarta on Saturday, 27 May, the EU immediately mobilised to assess needs and offer help. In Brussels, the coordination machinery has been active drawing together the Austrian Presidency of the EU, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) and the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), and the EU Situation Centre and Civil-Military Cell of the EU Military Staff.

The EU through the European Commission was the first donor to offer relief funding on the day of the disaster. €3 million was announced on the 27th and formally committed on the 28th by the Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department. Agencies to which funds are being allocated include the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) and Médecins du Monde France (MDM-F).

The Ambassador of the Austrian Presidency has been on the spot since the incident and has provided initial reporting and assessment to Vienna and Brussels.

ECHO also immediately dispatched field experts based in Djakarta and Bangkok for needs assessments. Four experts are now in the earthquake zone, working in close cooperation with IFRC and UN agencies, contributing to aid coordination on the ground.

The European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), which coordinates civil protection, has sent civil protection assessment and coordination experts to the site of the earthquake to assess the needs for assistance, particularly medical assistance.

The Head of the Aceh Monitoring Mission sent an SOS medical team to Jogyakarta on 29 May, with a second team on standby.

The Civil-Mil Cell in the EU Military Staff has been working with the defence authorities of Member States to identify the scope to use military assets to support the relief effort, for example using military-owned or chartered aircraft and ships to send supplies for the earthquake victims.

A number of Member States have offered material and practical support through the community mechanism for civil protection. According to the latest reports to the MIC, so far Austria is offering 200 tents and 5000 blankets; Bulgaria is offering 8.5 tonnes of tents and blankets as well as medical supplies; France has sent an assessment and evaluation team, a medical team and 4.5 tonnes of medical material and supplies; Italy has sent 25 tonnes of supplies including tents, first-aid kits, kitchen sets, sanitary materials, pumps and electricity generators; Malta will provide 15 to 20 tonnes of blankets, foodstuffs and water; Slovakia is ready to ship 20 tonnes of blankets, tents, clothing and medical sedans; Poland is offering a staffed field hospital; Spain has despatched 10 tonnes of tents, blankets, warm clothes, body bags and medical devices.

A number of Member States are offering financial assistance: Germany and Ireland are each offering €500,000; the Netherlands €1 million and the UK £3 million.

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