European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Plane with EU humanitarian assistance lands in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. © European Union 2015

Why is this important?

The EU is committed to promoting effective and efficient disaster response whether this is in the form of food assistance, medical supplies or teams of experts. Logistics is an essential part of such humanitarian aid and relief operations. As disasters increase in severity, requests for assistance increase, and funds become more limited, effective and efficient logistics can have a ciritical role for a humanitarian organisation.

It has been estimated that costs attributed to logistics and supply chain activities range between 40-60% of the overall budget of humanitarian organisations and up to 80% for a food relief supply chain. Improvements in terms of cost savings lie not only within the realm of logistics but also in improvements of programme delivery (e.g. increased speed).

How are we helping?

The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is a large contributor of funding for logistics needs, ensuring that humanitarian relief can reach people in need as swiftly yet efficiently as possible. This is done by:

  • directly providing air transport services, such as humanitarian air services;
  • financing other air transport services, notably the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS);
  • funding logistics capacity building of Commission's humanitarian partners, such as building stock warehouses that multiple partners can use to store supplies or providing training for partners to more efficiently deal with logistics;
  • ensuring that logistics elements are carefully considered in any funded action.

ECHO's Field Network plays a crucial role by providing 'in-house' logistics help to ensure that preparedness, procurement, vehicle management, and inventory management are carried out as efficiently as possible.

Furthermore, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism can co-finance the cost for transporting the assistance provided in-kind by the participating countries to emergency areas.

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