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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
European Civil Protection Pool

Factsheet

What is it?

The EU established the European Civil Protection Pool to advance European cooperation in civil protection. It aims to enable a faster, better-coordinated and more effective European response to human-induced disasters and natural hazards.

The Pool brings together resources from 25 Member States and participating states, ready for deployment to a disaster zone at short notice. These resources can be rescue or medical teams, experts, specialised equipment, or transportation.

Why is this important?

Whenever a disaster strikes, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism may receive a request for assistance. This is when emergency response teams, technical equipment and other resources need to be deployed in the shortest time possible to support the response efforts.

Being well prepared to intervene immediately in a disaster is crucial in saving lives and minimising damage. The European Civil Protection Pool allows for better organised, more predictable and coherent EU operations.

To this end, the European Commission has set up a certification and registration process. It ensures that capacities (e.g. emergency response teams and equipment) provided by EU Member States and Participating States meet high operational standards.

Certification includes the participation of emergency teams in disaster simulation exercises to train an emergency response together with peers. This ensures that they properly operate during international deployments.

The European Commission oversees and funds the EU certification process with the support of national experts.

How are we helping?

As of November 2021, 25 Member States and participating states have offered more than 100 specialised response capacities to the Pool. These resources can be deployed for response operations in and outside the EU following a request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

The European Commission provides financial support to capacities that are part of the Pool when they are deployed for response operations. They can range from mountain rescue teams to the availability of mobile laboratories, medical air evacuation, water purification equipment, etc. The Commission covers 75% of costs, including transport, for deployments inside or outside Europe.

In addition, financial support is available for the upgrade or repair of response capacities committed to the Pool to strengthen disaster preparedness. EU co-financing in the form of “adaptation grants” can be granted for already existing capacities within one Member State or participating state to ensure readiness to be internationally deployed.

Recent response operations using resources from the European Civil Protection Pool include:

Haiti Earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace in 2021

In August 2021, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit south-western Haiti, followed by tropical storm Grace which struck the country just a few days after.

Causing a shortage of emergency medical staff, clean water and housing, EU Civil Protection Teams were immediately deployed from Europe to Port-au-Prince. 

Sweden contributed to these teams with 5 previously certified members who provided technical assistance and support. Luxembourg contributed with 2 certified members who ensured emergency communication, and Norway sent certified doctors and health experts – altogether mobilised from the EU Civil Protection Pool.

This support was provided in addition to €3 million in humanitarian funding to address urgent needs as well as 175 tonnes of humanitarian cargo delivered by 3 EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights.

Greece Forest Fires and Floods in Belgium in summer 2021

Following the severe forest fires in Greece, a French team of ground forest firefighting team was deployed, previously certified and part of the EU Civil Protection Pool. They fought fires alongside firefighters from 10 other EU countries.

When Belgium was affected by floods in July 2021, a certified French team of flood rescue experts arrived with boats to support national rescuers.

Lebanon explosions in 2020

Following the blasts in Beirut, Lebanon, and ensuing activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre coordinated the deployment of several capacities from the European Civil Protection Pool.

Urban search and rescue teams from Czechia, France, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands, as well as a Technical Assistance Support team from Finland.

The overall operation also allowed for the deployment of other medical staff and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear experts, as well as for the provision of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies.

COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

In response to the coronavirus, various emergency medical teams that are part of the Pool were deployed.

In April, 2 Emergency Medical Teams from Norway and Romania were deployed to northern Italy to help Italian medical staff battling the pandemic.

The operation also allowed for the provision of medical equipment and supplies. In June, an Italian Emergency Medical Team was deployed to Armenia following an activation of the Mechanism.

Last updated: 16/12/2021
Picture: © European Union, 2021 (photographer: Žiga Živulovic)

Facts & figures

The European Civil Protection Pool is a reserve of emergency response teams and equipment (known as “capacities”).

Capacities are committed by European states to respond to disasters inside and outside the EU.

The Pool was established in 2013.

To date, 25 European countries contribute more than 100 resources to the Pool.

The Pool allows for a more predictable, pre-planned and quality-checked European response.

The European Medical Corps gathers all health-related response capacities that are committed to the Pool or developed under rescEU.