EU assists Ukraine following flu pandemic
EU countries have come to the assistance of Ukraine after the country was hit by an outbreak of influenza, including H1N1, which has reached epidemic levels. Ukraine called on the EU through the Community Civil Protection Mechanism on 31 October for help to deal with the outbreak.
On a bilateral basis, Slovakia delivered 200,000 respirators and Poland provided essential relief items including protective clothing and medicines as well as financial support. Hungary has offered to deliver 20,000 doses of the H1N1 Fluval P vaccine and medicines. Through the Community Civil Protection Mechanism, Austria has offered more than 460,000 protective masks, as well as disinfectant and protective gloves which are expected to arrive in the Ukraine on Saturday.
The European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), which coordinates the Civil Protection Mechanism activities, is today dispatching a coordination and assessment team of experts from France, Austria, Latvia and Germany, including two medical doctors and a MIC liaison officer. The team will assist with the delivery of relief items and coordinate with Ukrainian authorities and the World Health Organisation's assessment team which is already on site. The MIC team will also assess the scope for further assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The situation in the region is a matter of increasing concern, with influenza continuously spreading. In Bulgaria, it has also reached epidemic levels. Yesterday Bulgaria activated the Civil Protection Mechanism with a request for 200,000 doses of antiviral drugs.
The response to these emergencies is being closely coordinated across the Commission services, including the Directorates-General for Environment (responsible for the Civil Protection Mechanism), Health and Consumers (EWRS system), and External Relations.