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IP/10/612

Brussels, 26 May 2010

Hungary activates the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and request sandbags to combat river overflow

At 20h00 yesterday, Hungary has activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for urgent assistance in the response to the flood situation. The Hungarian authorities have identified an immediate need for up to 2 million sandbags to strengthen its flood containment capacity. Since 15 May, the country has put in place temporary flood protection measures along 930 km of river banks. With over 3.6 million sandbags already in use as temporary protection, Hungary is facing shortages. As the flood situation is worsening, the country urgently needs to strengthen its flood containment capacity and put in place additional temporary protection.

The country has been facing unusual amounts of rain since 15 May 2010, which has affected approximately one third of the country. The flood protection efforts are concentrated in four areas: North Hungarian rivers, Central Hungarian Great Plain, Valley of the Kapos rive, and the Bakony Mountains in Trans-Danubia. The request for 2 million sandbags has been sent to all civil protection authorities of the 31 countries participating in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

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 also worldwide, 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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