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European Commission Representation in Cyprus
Press release22 October 20211 min read

EU Civil Protection celebrates 20th anniversary delivering assistance to people

Visit of Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to the European Commission

The European Union is marking the 20th anniversary of its EU Civil Protection Mechanism tomorrow which has been activated more than 500 times to coordinate assistance people affected by natural disasters and other crises in Europe and worldwide. This has included millions of supplies of medical material during the COVID-19 pandemic, to dispatching emergency items following earthquakes and floods. Since its inception in 2001, some of the largest operations have been the following: Bosnia and Herzegovina floods in 2014 - the largest EU response operation saw the deployment of 30 response units. Mozambique tropical cyclone Idai in 2019 - the largest EU response operation with the deployment of four emergency medical teams in one single operation. The forest fire season in the Mediterranean in 2021 - the largest EU response operation to forest fires including the dispatch of firefighting airplanes, helicopters, drones and firefighting teams on the ground. The largest repatriation of EU citizens for COVID-19 in 2020 - the EU funded more than 400 repatriation flights to bring home more than 100,000 Europeans and their family members from 85 different countries worldwide. The yeas with greatest number of activations was 2020 - the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated for 102 times in 2020 alone. On this occasion, Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: “The EU Civil Protection Mechanism ensures swift and well-coordinated emergency assistance whenever a disaster hits the EU or beyond. It is a concrete example of EU solidarity in action. I am proud to look back at this success story of 20 years of EU solidarity operations. Over time, with its cornerstone position in the European disaster management system, it has not only enabled us to respond faster and to more disasters simultaneously. With rescEU we have also managed to fundamentally strengthen the level of disaster preparedness of our continent facing ever more intense natural disasters and new and more complex risks.” The press release is available online. 


Publication date
22 October 2021