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Brussels, 24 November 2010

EU Civil Protection team is deployed in Haiti

Seven experts in civil protection will travel to Haiti today, to join the efforts against the cholera epidemics. The team is deployed by the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) of the European Commission. The experts will coordinate the distribution of vital provisions, such as water purification tablets, offered by the participating states in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In addition, the experts will advise the local authorities on measures to improve health and hygiene, in order to stem the rate of infection.

"This mission will reinforce our assistance to Haiti in tackling the cholera epidemic. The Commission and EU Member States stand ready to further support the authorities and our partners on the ground," said Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

The EU Civil Protection team is expected to work in Haiti for three weeks. The initial tasks of the mission are :first, to coordinate the incoming material assistance from the countries that participate in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism; second, the team will advise the Haitian authorities on providing hygienic environment, improving water quality and ensuring the waste management of health units; finally, the team will liaise, advise and cooperate with the Haitian authorities and the international players on the ground, such as the World Health Organisation and the United Nations.

Among European countries, so far France and Austria have reacted to the request for help to Haiti through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. France has sent shelter material and hospital beds, while Austria has offered 1 million water purification tablets. Participants in the Mechanism have been invited to assist further with water and sanitation (clean water, oral rehydration salts,chlorine water purification powder or granulates, waste management) and medical assistance (doctors, nurses, medical supplies).

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