The EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCP) has been activated to ensure coordinated European relief efforts following the Philippine authorities' request for international assistance to address the colossal needs in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda).
Several Member States are sending material support and the EUCP is assisting the process through its coordination capacities. Belgium has dispatched a medical team and a water purification unit for clean drinking water. Hungary has offered a search and rescue team and medical personnel are to be sent shortly. The UK and France are sending shelter kits. Sweden will provide a base camp with communication equipment. Germany has deployed needs assessment experts. Further in-kind contributions to be delivered via the EUCP are expected within the coming days. The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is monitoring the situation 24/7, and has already set up an advanced assessment team on the ground. Six to eight civil protection experts will be also dispatched this week.
The activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism comes in parallel with Sunday's announcement by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department ECHO that EUR 3 million of emergency funds for humanitarian needs will be made available. The aid, channeled through partners, is targeting the most vulnerable population in the worst-hit areas.
Haiyan (Yolanda) is one of the most destructive cyclones ever registered. It crossed the Philippines on Friday morning (Thursday night Brussels time) causing heavy rainfall, flash floods and landslides throughout the archipelago. Hundreds of thousands are displaced, around 10 million have been affected and the death toll is expected to be dramatic. After its passage through the archipelago, the typhoon lost strength and made landfall in the North of Vietnam this morning. Major damage has yet to be reported, and 200 000 people of the 600 000 evacuated have now been allowed to return home. The now tropical storm is expected to weaken to a low depression and reach China.