Brussels, 3 April 2009
EU Civil Protection Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "This action by EU Member States is a clear sign of solidarity with the people of Namibia during this particularly difficult time. We are grateful to Austria and other EU Member States for offering much needed assistance.”
The Community Civil Protection Mechanism was activated following a flooding of rivers flowing into northern Namibia, the country's most populated region. Due to disruption of infrastructure and the flooding of health facilities, immediate needs include shelter, access to clean water, sanitation facilities and health care, food and medicine. More than 350,000 people have been affected, 13,000 have been displaced. A serious impact is expected on agriculture and livestock production.
The Mechanism was activated on 23 March following consultations with Czech Presidency and the EC Delegation in Namibia.
The Civil Protection Mechanism’s Monitoring and Information Centre, based in Brussels, immediately deployed a team of assessment and coordination experts from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic, as well as a MIC liaison officer, to support national authorities in Namibia and help identify how best to contribute to the international relief efforts. The team has been conducting field assessments in the most affected regions, joining forces with the United Nations and the national government authorities to get a better picture of the situation and needs in the most affected regions.
The Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) is operated by DG Environment in the European Commission. It is the operational heart of the Community Mechanism for Civil Protection. It is available on a 24/7 basis, and provides countries access to the community civil protection platform. Any country affected by a major disaster – inside or outside the EU – can launch a request for assistance through the MIC.
During emergencies the MIC plays three important roles: serving as a communications hub for the exchange of requests and offers of assistance; providing information on civil protection preparedness and response to participating states as well as a wider audience of interested stakeholders; supporting co-ordination of the provision of European assistance.