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Floods in central Europe: Statement by Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response

Commission Européenne - MEMO/13/508   05/06/2013

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 5 June 2013

Floods in central Europe: Statement by Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response

At this difficult time for many people struggling to cope I want to express my appreciation for all those helping in rescue and prevention operations in those countries affected by the recent flooding. It is tragic that twelve people have died but the swift reaction of local and national services has once again proven to be essential in saving lives.

The countries hit by the floods know that the EU stands ready to assist in case of need. The European Commission's Emergency Response Centre (ERC) has been closely monitoring the situation since the heavy rains began falling and is ready to act immediately it is called upon. It has already supplied satellite imagery of flood zones at the request of the German authorities. European pre-defined civil protection assets - so called "modules", composed of specialised equipment and teams, are available for deployment if necessary at short notice. The European Commission can call on Member States to deploy more than twenty of these flood-related modules, such as high-capacity pumping, boat rescue and flood barriers.

The situation is still unfolding. In some areas the flood waters are receding, while in others they continue to rise. I am pleased to see that some countries have signalled their readiness to assist. Together with the Member States, the EU civil Protection Mechanism stands ready to help at any moment.

Background

Heavy rains in the past three days led to floods, evacuations and death toll in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

On 2 June, the Czech government announced an emergency state for seven regions, i.e. half area of the Czech Republic. Thousands have been evacuated and seven persons are reported dead.

As of 3 June, the provinces of Salzburg, Vorarlberg, Tirol, Upper Austria and Lower Austria are reported affected by floods. Several municipalities have been affected by floods and landslides. One person was reported killed and another three were still missing.

As of 4 June, the flood situation in south-east Germany remains critical, particularly in the Elbe river basin.

So far none of the affected countries have made a request for assistance.

Floods are one of the major natural hazards in Europe and have triggered requests for assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism already for several times. Bulgaria, for example, asked for assistance in 2012, and the Balkans countries and Poland in 2010.

For more information

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

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

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

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


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