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EU conducts its biggest Civil Protection Mechanism exercise

On 14 October 2018, Commissioner Stylianides opened the Modex Romania exercise, the largest EU Civil Protection exercise to date. © EU

The 2018 Modex Romania is the largest medical exercise ever conducted in the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and is taking place in Bucharest, Romania until 18 October 2018. The simulation will mobilise over 1000 people and involve medical teams from Austria, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Norway, and Israel, and experts from other states participating in the Mechanism.

 “This exercise is a unique opportunity to assess the functioning of our Civil Protection Mechanism and the common European response to disasters. This Mechanism has proven its value on countless occasions, such as during the devastating forest fires in Southern and Northern Europe this summer. But there is always room for improvement of our capacities and coordination to save lives in Europe and around the world. This is why Modex is so useful and important for us,” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

The exercise simulates a 7.5 scale earthquake hitting Bucharest causing widespread damage to infrastructure, with a large number of wounded. National capacities are overwhelmed and Romania activates the EU Civil Protection Mechanism through which assistance from participating countries is channelled. Urban search and rescue and medical teams need to be set up as well as evacuation planes to bring wounded people to safe places in Romania and other EU Member States.

Under concrete field conditions, the aim of this simulation is to assess the capacities of the medical teams and experts to coordinate between teams from different countries.

EU simulation exercises are designed to improve the operational cooperation in civil protection assistance. Contingency planning, decision-making procedures, communication to the public and the media in major emergencies can therefore be tested and it helps identifying further training needs and operational gaps.

This exercise is the fifth and last exercise of the 2017-2018 period. Previous exercises took place in the UK, Denmark, Bulgaria, and Austria. Exercises at EU level are organised by the participating countries in the Mechanism with a financial contribution from the Commission.

The Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response among 34 states (28 EU Member States, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey). The participating countries pool the resources that are available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of assistance inside and outside the EU. The Commission manages the Mechanism through the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).

The Mechanism was activated for some of the most devastating disasters the world has faced in recent years, such as the earthquake in Haiti (2010), the tsunami in Japan (2011), typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines (2013), the Ebola outbreak (2014), the conflict in Ukraine (2014), the earthquake in Nepal (2015), and numerous floods and forest fires in Europe.

Publication date
15/10/2018