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IP/10/583

Brussels19 May 2010

EU Civil Protection Mechanism activated to support Poland in managing severe floods

Today at 05:30 Brussels time, Poland activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism requesting support in addressing the severe floods currently affecting large areas of the country. The request for high capacity pumping equipment and teams was immediately communicated to all Participating States through the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) which coordinates European response for Civil Protection. Poland has now activated the Mechanism because it expects that its national response capacities will become overwhelmed in the next few hours due to the persisting heavy rains.

"The EU is founded on the principle of solidarity. In crisis like the one Poland is facing currently is when Member States support can make the best of this European value. I call on all the participants of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism that have the equipment requested by Poland to respond generously", said Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner responsible for Crisis Response.

The most stricken regions are located in the Southern part of Poland (Slaskie, Podkarpackie, Opolskie, Swietokrzyskie, Malopolskie) but it has been forecasted that the floods will progressively extend to the central part of the country due to the overflow of main rivers.

Poland has requested Participating States to provide high capacity pumps (600 cubic meter / hour or higher) in order to supplement national capabilities. Within one hour after the request France has offered 4 high capacity pumps of 5400 m3/h, 3 pumps of 850 m3/h and 1 pump 750 m3/h together with team members for logistical and technical support. The offer has been accepted. The French teams are being deployed already this morning and are expected to reach the affected areas within 15 hours. Germany has offered 5 high capacity pumps of 15 m3/m. More offers are expected during the day.

Rapid Response Capability. Through the Preparatory action the Commission and the Member States are testing new arrangements to speed up the deployment of assistance to the affected country.

Background

The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response. 31 states participate in the Mechanism (EU-27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). They pool those resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world through the Mechanism. When activated, the Mechanism ensures the coordination of assistance interventions inside and outside the European Union. Such activities are coordinated by the European Commission through the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC). Since its creation in 2001, the Mechanism has been activated for disasters in Member States (like the forest fires in Southern Europe in 2009) but alsoworldwide, including recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.

For More info on Commission's humanitarian aid:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm


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