The creation of EU Aid Volunteers, foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty, offers European citizens the opportunity to get involved in humanitarian aid. The first volunteers will soon have the chance to be trained and deployed through pilot projects. This will provide additional resources to organisations specialised in humanitarian aid and disaster risk reduction. After this initial experience, and following broad public consultations, legislative proposals will be put forward by the Commission.
Whether by accident or as a result of normal ship operations, oil spills severely damage the marine environment. Large oil spills at sea constitute a threat to the environment, placing enormous demands on the national authorities responsible for response and clean-up operations.
Disaster preparedness contributes to saving lives, speeds up recovery and reduces the impact of future hazards. Disaster preparedness is proof that people are far from helpless when facing hazards with the appropriate local knowledge, practice and response mechanisms.
The operational heart of the Mechanism is the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC). Based at the European Commission in Brussels, the MIC is accessible 24/7 and can spring into action immediately when it receives a call for assistance. The MIC works in close cooperation with national crisis centres throughout the 31 countries participating in the Mechanism.
Access to food and maintenance of adequate nutrition are principal concerns in any humanitarian crisis. Food aid, often as part of a combination of measures, is an important response mechanism to ensure adequate nourishment and to restore food security.