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IP/11/232

Brussels, 25 February 2011

New Zealand earthquake aftermath: the European Commission activates EU Civil Protection Mechanism

Upon New Zealand's request, the Civil Protection Mechanism of the European Union has been activated today. It will coordinate European assistance to the country which suffered from a devastating earthquake on February 22. The 31 states that participate in the Mechanism have been informed about the needs on the ground and the Monitoring and Information Centre of the European Commission stands ready to streamline their offers of assistance.

Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, stated: "The European Union is ready to help New Zealand cope with the consequences of this major disaster. Together with our Member States, my services will work to provide the requested assistance in the fastest and most efficient possible way".

The authorities of New Zealand have requested help in three areas – temporary sanitation (camp toilets, pumping systems, pipes), the provision of temporary housing and demolition.

Background:

An earthquake with 6.3 magnitude occurred 10 km South-East of Christchurch, New Zealand, on February 22, 2011. Numerous aftershocks followed. Over 110 people were killed in the disaster, which also caused substantial destruction. This has been New Zealand's deadliest earthquake since 1931.

The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response. 31 participating states in the Mechanism (EU-27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) pool the resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. 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 information:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/civil_protection/civil/index.htm


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