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European Commission - Press release

The European Commission joins the operations to bring first aid to the victims of Brazzaville explosions

Brussels, 08 March 2012 - The European Commission has reacted swiftly to the incident which took the lives of close to 200 people and injured more than 1,500 in the Republic of Congo's capital. Brazzaville. A day after the first and most destructive ammunition stockpile explosions, the disaster area was visited by Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. She went to a hospital where the victims of the blasts are being treated and discussed the needs and the challenges with the Ministers of Health and Interior.

"My thoughts are with the people of Brazzaville, especially those who are suffering the pain of losing loved ones. This tragedy is yet another reminder of the fragility of our world, where disasters can all too often happen without warning and overwhelm us," said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

To strengthen the response to the emergency, the Commission will release €200,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).

"Our contribution will support the provision of emergency healthcare and shelter and the clearing up of the explosion-devastated area. The Commission's humanitarian experts keep monitoring the needs on the ground and coordinating with our relief partners working in Brazzaville," Commissioner Georgieva explained.

The Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre has been in close contact with the Commission's humanitarian experts in Kinshasa and the EU Delegation in Brazzaville to collect information and identify the most urgent needs. If the EU Civil Protection Mechanism is activated by the national authorities, the Commission can coordinate and co-finance the provision of assistance coming from EU Member States and can offer expertise in the field of civil protection to the Republic of Congo.


The EU Civil Protection Mechanism

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response among 32 European states (EU-27 plus Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The participating countries pool the resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of assistance inside and outside the European Union. The European Commission manages the Mechanism 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 Portugal, the explosion at a Cyprus naval base in 2011 and the floods and extreme winter in the Balkans in 2012). The Mechanism is also active worldwide, including after the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Japan.

For more information

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

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