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Brussels, 21 August 2008
The European Union, through its Civil Protection Mechanism, is providing on-the-ground support around 100,000 civilians in the conflict-stricken area. Following a green light given by the French Presidency EU support is being sent via Member States and coordinated by the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC). This civil protection assistance comes in addition to the Commission humanitarian aid already provided right after the start of the conflict.
Against the backdrop of the agreed Russian-Georgian ceasefire, the European Union has provided assistance to Georgia to help its thousands of civilians in need of shelter, food and medicine. Georgia requested civil protection assistance through the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), which is the central operating hub of the Community Civil Protection Mechanism linking the civil protection authorities of 30 participating European countries. The request has resulted in the substantial mobilisation of technical assistance. Help was offered by the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, France, Greece, Hungary, Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Slovakia. Most of the assistance mobilised through the Mechanism has already been delivered. The ongoing assistance includes shelter material ( over 300 tents, 10,000 sleepings bags, mattresses, blankets, sleeping bags etc.), various relief items (including dry food), medicine and emergency health supplies including 35,000 bandages and lung respirators and mobile fire-fighting equipment. France has also pooled transport capacities with Austria and Slovakia and mobilised a joint European flight.
Since 17 August, the MIC has set up an office in the EC Delegation's premises with a team of three experts from Denmark, France and the UK, as well as a liaison officer. The EU team is monitoring and facilitating the arrival and use of this European civil protection assistance. It is working closely with experts dispatched by the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO). On 10 August, the Commission released an €1 million emergency humanitarian aid (IP/08/1256) to meet the most vulnerable needs. The Commission humanitarian aid includes: shelter; food aid, non-foods items such as blankets, clothes and kitchen-sets. An additional humanitarian aid is foreseen.
With operational partners in the field, ECHO and the MIC teams are closely monitoring the situation in the region.