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EU Civil Protection Mechanism to coordinate European assistance to Japan following double disaster

A family walk through the devastated remains of Kamaishi city © EPA/ Belga
15/03/2011  - 

Japan has requested assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to cope with the consequences of last week's massive earthquake and tsunami wave. The request triggered immediate offers from several Member States. The Commission's Civil Protection Mechanism is coordinating the joint EU's response, to ensure European assistance reaches those in need in the most targeted and speedy manner.

Japan has called for blankets, mattresses, water bottles/tanks and water purification units. The request was immediately transmitted to the Mechanism's Participating States.

Given the difficult conditions on the ground, and the large-scale national relief operation, a genuinely joined-up European response package is essential.

The European Commission dispatched a humanitarian expert to join the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) mission in Japan on Saturday. Since 14 March, the EU Delegation in Tokyo has also been reinforced with the liaison officer from the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre, tasked with establishing direct contacts with the relevant Japanese authorities. An EU Civil Protection Assessment and Coordination Team of 10 experts has been convened and is on standby, ready for deployment in Japan, to coordinate the upcoming European assistance on the ground. The experts will be supported by a Technical Assistance and Support Team (TAST) with a radiological/nuclear component. The EU Situation Centre has activated its consular online webpage to exchange information on EU-citizens possibly affected in the region.