When a disaster strikes, every minute counts: in order to save lives, immediate, coordinated and pre-planned response is essential, even more so as natural and man-made disasters are on the rise due to climate change, population growth, urbanisation and increased industrial activity.
In the spirit of solidarity, the European Union supports disaster response in a timely and efficient manner and to ensure European assistance meets the real needs in the population affected, whether in Europe or beyond. Any country inside or outside the EU affected by a major disaster can make an appeal for assistance directly to the ERC.
The Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), operated within ECHO, has been set up to support a coordinated and quicker response to disasters both inside and outside Europe using resources from 32 countries participating in the Civil Protection Mechanism. The ERC replaces and upgrades the functions of the previous Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC).
With a capacity to deal with several simultaneous emergencies in different time zones, around-the-clock, the ERC is a coordination hub facilitating a coherent European response during emergencies helping to cut unnecessary and expensive duplication of efforts.
It collects and analyses real-time information on disasters, monitors hazards, prepares plans for the deployment of experts, teams and equipment, and works with Member States to map available assets and coordinate the EU's disaster response efforts by matching offers of assistance to the needs of the disaster-stricken country.
Better planning and the preparation of a set of typical disaster scenarios will further enhance the ERC's capacity for rapid response.
The ERC also supports a wide range of prevention and preparedness activities, from awareness-raising to field exercises simulating emergency response.