EC President Barroso and Commissioners Georgieva and Šefčovič at the inauguration of the Emergency Response Centre© EU, 2013
New Emergency Response Centre inaugurated – JRC contributions
The European Commission's central platform for disaster response, the Emergency Response Centre (ERC), was inaugurated today in Brussels on the occasion of the Civil Protection Forum, which aims to address the EU's increasing role in disaster management.
This new Centre relies extensively on three JRC platforms used for the forecast and monitoring of floods, fires, humanitarian natural disasters and tsunamis, as well as on the JRC's monitoring and analytical capabilities (ie: flash situation reports, map services…). The JRC also co-ordinates the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service, which provides accurate geospatial information derived from satellite remote sensing which is completed by available in situ or open data sources.
The new Emergency Response Centre succeeds the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC). With a growing number of emergency operations – 32 in 2010 as compared to 3 in 2002 – the MIC had outgrown its facilities. The ERC will be operational on a 24/7 basis, capable of dealing with up to three simultaneous emergencies in different time zones. It will receive and analyse appeals for assistance from affected countries and serve as a hub to support coordination at various levels: Commission, Member States, the affected country, humanitarian partners and civil protection teams deployed to the field.
The ERC will operate from new premises in Brussels, which include a main operations room equipped with state of the art technology with 12 working stations and two additional, smaller operations rooms to ensure that the Centre can respond to several emergencies simultaneously.
During the inauguration, JRC scientists demonstrated the functions of two of its in-house platforms: the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS), and the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).
EFAS is an online platform which produces overviews on ongoing and forecasted floods up to 10 days in advance, thus contributing to better protection for citizens, the environment, property and cultural heritage. The JRC is currently extending the functions of EFAS to create a Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS).
EFFIS is a web based platform developed by the JRC in close collaboration with DG Environment and the EC Humanitarian Office, which provides the most up to date information on the current fire season in Europe and in the Mediterranean area, fire danger forecast up to 6 days in advance, customised maps of historical fire incidence and selected news from the press on wild-land fires in Europe, updated daily. The system includes other dedicated modules to assess the environmental and economic damages caused by fires such as soil erosion and emissions into the atmosphere. It addresses forest fires in a comprehensive way, providing EU level assessments from pre-fire to post-fire phases, thus supporting fire prevention, preparedness, fire-fighting and post-fire evaluations. The JRC is currently testing the operation of a Global Wildfire Information System, which extends the capabilities of EFFIS beyond the European and Mediterranean area to the global scale.
- European Forest Fire Information System - EFFIS
- Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS)
- European Flood Awareness System (EFAS)
- Copernicus Emergency Management Service
- Memo: Q/A: The European Emergency Response Centre Opens
- Photo coverage: Official opening of the EC's Emergency Response Centre (ERC)
- Video coverage: Emergency Response Centre (ERC) official inauguration
- Press release: Emergency Response Centre: for a faster and more efficient European response to disasters