The EU is mobilising its emergency response instruments to assist countries affected or threatened by Hurricane Irma. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini declared that:
“The European Union fully supports our partners and friends in the Caribbean region and beyond at this time of great need, and our hearts go out to all the victims and all those affected by Hurricane Irma.”
The Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides added:
“The EU is working on a continuous basis to help the countries and areas affected by this disaster, and as a global player in emergency response to natural disasters we are fully alert to the latest hurricane. We have already taken immediate steps to prepare all our crisis response instruments. Our European Emergency Centre and our humanitarian aid offices in the Caribbean region are closely following all developments.”
At the request of France, the European satellite mapping system Copernicus was activated, it provided maps to Guadeloupe, Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin. Haiti and the Dominican Republic have also received Copernicus support and the system stands ready for use in other areas.
In addition, a team of humanitarian experts from the Commission is present in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Additional personnel are ready to be deployed in the area as needed. The Commission's 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre has contacted the countries participating in the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism and is prepared to provide the assistance required by the affected countries. The regional humanitarian aid office of the Commission in Managua, which acts as the focal point for the Caribbean region, is fully operational to coordinate any assistance that may be required.
The EU recently helped the US authorities in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey by providing satellite imagery via its Copernicus system. In addition, EU Solidarity Funds could be mobilised to support reconstruction efforts on the ground.