JRC helps to set up an emergency operation centre in Haiti
The EU will assist Haiti in reinforcing its capacity to respond to natural disaster emergencies. The JRC will lend technical support to the programme.
On 28 March a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the European Union and Haiti, represented by the Ambassador of the EU, Lut Fabert, and the Haitian Minister of Interior, Paul-Antoine Bien-Aimé. The Memorandum of Understanding includes the provision of the emergency operations centre for the Haitian Civil Protection as well as equipment to support emergency preparedness and response interventions. The JRC has been requested by the EU's Foreign Policy Instrument Service to provide the technical support in the design and establishment of the emergency operations centre and related training activities.
The overall programme, lasting 18 months, has an initial value of 15 million Euro.
A dedicated building will be equipped based on a design of the JRC, and it will have a Situation Room amongst other essential services. The Situation room will be equipped with all the necessary hardware and software components that are needed to provide the National Coordination Centre with continuously updated information on emerging and ongoing crisis events as well as to plan and coordinate subsequent interventions.
On 12 January 2010, Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake - the country's worst in 200 years. The epicentre of the earthquake was the capital of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas. Other communes in the region, such as Leogane, Gressier and Carrefour, suffered large scale destruction, with up to 90% o buildings destroyed in some places. Smaller towns in the area also suffered. In Jacmel, on the southern coast, more than 3,000 people were reported to have been killed or injured and 60% o buildings damaged or destroyed.
The EU responded quickly and comprehensively to the disaster, both on the level of the Community and of the Member States. EU's humanitarian assistance has been provided to the tune of over €322 million (18 Member States Commission). The Commission's own emergency relief package was worth more than €120 million, including €3 million in fast track funds allocated less than 24 hours after the event. The EU deployed more than 800 experts and substantial assets (search and rescue, field hospitals, shelter) from 25 EU/EEA countries through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, coordinated by the MIC.
EU Member States offered a range of additional military and security assets to support the government of Haiti and UN MINUSTAH. Exchange of information and coordination was facilitated through the Haiti Coordination Cell (EUCO) in the EU SITCEN. Some 1,000 military personnel from EU MS have been deployed on the ground in Haiti.
At the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council of 18 January, a preliminary financial contribution from the Commission of €100 million for early non-humanitarian assistance was announced, focusing notably on restoration of government capabilities. It was also agreed to dispatch a joint team of EU experts to assess the most pressing needs, in support of the capacity of the Haitian authorities. This mission took place from 31 January to 10 February 2010 and included members from different Commission services (ECHO, DEV, RELEX) and Member States. Bearing in mind the specificities for the Instrument for Stability (IfS), quick deployment and short term interventions, it was proposed to focus the IfS intervention on reinforcing the crisis preparedness capacities of the Haitian administration in relation to natural disasters to which the country is heavily exposed.
Within the framework of the Financing Decision C(2010) 5230 on 'Adopting an Exceptional Assistance Measure under the Instrument for Stability to support the restoration of Haitian government capacities for Crisis Preparedness Haiti', one of the several projects planned therein is the task to establish a Situation Room within the Direction de Protection Civile in Port-au-Prince. The Situation Room will provide the National Civil Protection of Haiti with a modern and high-tech National Coordination Centre that would be used to support preparedness and response coordination in the event of natural disasters as well as to support general Civil Protection related activities.
The project will be implemented by the Joint Research Centre, of the European Commission, in close cooperation with the EU Delegation in Haiti, and the International Management Group (IMG).