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IP/11/401

Brussels, 4 April 2011

European support to Japan's humanitarian needs boosted by €10 million

The European Commission has just adopted a new humanitarian funding decision of €10 million, to help the Japanese population cope with the massive consequences of the twin disaster. This boosts the European Union's (Member States and Commission) aid to earthquake and tsunami-stricken Japan to more than €15 million. The new funding will provide assistance to more than 30,000 people, who live in temporary shelters and rely on aid for food, water, blankets and mattresses and other immediate provisions.

The new funding decision has been spearheaded by European Commissioner for International Cooperation, humanitarian aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva, who was the first high-level international politician to visit Japan after the disaster. "We continue to stand by a brave friend in need," Commissioner Georgieva said. "I have no doubt Japan will emerge from this disaster more resilient. While we support the affected people, we need to also draw our conclusions and prepare for a world where disasters are both more frequent, and more destructive," the Commissioner added.

This €10 million decision will allow the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to distribute relief items to evacuees and other people in need in Japan, in partnership with the Japanese Red Cross Society. The European aid will target some 8,000 families in the affected provinces of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

EU response so far

Since the early hours of the disaster that hit Japan on March 11, the European Commission has been in contact with the Japanese authorities and pursued ways to assist the afflicted population, through its humanitarian aid and civil protection department.

Japan asked for the EU to coordinate civil protection and humanitarian assistance, as well as all the in-kind offers from Member States. 18 of the European Civil Protection Mechanism Participating States have offered in-kind or financial assistance to Japan.

Aid from the European Union continues to reach Japan as a coherent package of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection. On March 26, a European plane, provided free of charge by Lufthansa, brought to Tokyo 72 tons of relief items offered by the Member States. Since then, three other shipments of European relief aid have arrived in the country, including 50 radiation dose rate devices. Another flight with European assistance (food, tents, sleeping bags, gloves and rubber boots), provided free of charge by AeroLogic, DHL, and Lufthansa is on its way to Japan today.

A 15-member EU Civil Protection team has been working in Japan since 19 March. The experts, with support from the EU Delegation, have been working on solutions for the delivery of European assistance and have been coordinating the reception and onward transport of the aid in Japan.

For more information:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm


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