European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Message from the Director-General

© European Union/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie

"Dear Visitor,

Thank you for your interest in the European Commission's civil protection and humanitarian aid work.

Our mission is to provide assistance to people affected by humanitarian crises and disasters worldwide.

We ensure a rapid and coordinated European response to natural and man-made disasters both within the EU or elsewhere in the world. By drawing on the in-kind assistance, civil protection capabilities and expertise provided by the Member States through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, we enable the immediate deployment of specialised teams and equipment to disaster areas. With the European Medical Corps, we have consolidated the ability of Europe to respond to global health emergencies.

At our headquarters, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre monitors crises around the globe 24/7, ensuring complementary action of the EU and its Member States. Together with the national civil protection agencies, we regularly organise joint exercises to strengthen our collective response ability, exchange best practices and collaborate on reducing disaster risk.   

More than 120 million victims of disasters or conflicts around the globe receive the EU's life-saving humanitarian support each year, as an expression of European solidarity. 

Combined with the Member States' contributions, the EU's humanitarian aid constitutes around one third of global humanitarian aid, making us a leading donor in all the world's hotspots.

We help people in need in all major crises, including Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen. We support refugees in Greece and Turkey by providing food, water and other vital goods and services. The El Niño phenomenon, which is causing extreme weather events in various part of the world, from Ethiopia to Latin America, is also one of our priorities.

But we also look beyond the media spotlight and engage in many of the 'forgotten crises', such as the ones affecting Sahrawi refugees in Algeria, Rohingya people in Myanmar/Burma, and Colombian refugees in Ecuador.

EU humanitarian aid is provided in places where it is needed the most. Our field offices in more than 40 countries are our eyes and ears on the ground, ensuring a regular monitoring of crises and allowing the Commission to target its assistance to people's needs. Our field experts help us liaise with more than 200 humanitarian partner organisations, including UN agencies, NGOs and international organisations, such as the Red Cross family.

Our work also aims at preparing populations to better withstand crises when they occur. Investing in disaster preparedness means reducing loss of lives and saving resources spent on crisis response. We run resilience programmes in the most disaster-prone countries in the world and we support the global Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.        

How can you get involved? Become a hosting organisation or volunteer in an EU-funded project through our EU Aid Volunteers programme. We have already launched the first calls of this initiative that will provide some 18 000 Europeans the opportunity to participate in relief operations.  

If you want to know more, feel free to contact us through the website or our social media channels."

Monique PARIAT
Director General
Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)


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