EU response to the flu epidemic in Ukraine (05/11/2009)
The European Commission has reacted positively to the official request by the Ukrainian authorities for technical assistance. A team of EU civil protection experts will start work in Ukraine tomorrow, Friday 6 November. The team will consist of 4 experts, including experienced doctors, from Austria, France, Germany and Latvia. The team is accompanied by a liaison officer from the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre, which coordinates civil protection interventions.
Their task will be to facilitate the coordination of assistance provided by the European Union and its Member States, to assess the situation on the ground and to formulate respective recommendations. The team will also stay in contact with the WHO team that is already working in Ukraine since Monday 2 November.
The EU expert team's mission will last approximately 10 days. This will be the third expert mission dispatched to Ukraine by the European Commission within the framework of the Community Civil Protection Mechanism. The previous missions dealt with the floods in Western regions of Ukraine (August 2008) and the oil spill-outs in the Kerch Strait (November 2007).
The Community Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates and supports the mobilisation and coordination of Member States' civil protection assistance in the event of major emergencies. The EU's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), operated by the European Commission in Brussels, is the operational heart of the Community Mechanism for Civil Protection. It is available on a 24/7 basis, and provides countries access to the community civil protection platform. Any country affected by a major disaster – inside or outside the EU – can launch a request for assistance through the MIC. During emergencies the MIC coordinates the exchange of requests and offers of assistance and provides information on civil protection preparedness and response to participating states as well as a wider audience of interested stakeholders.
The European Commission and Ukraine cooperate closely on civil protection matters. An administrative arrangement concluded between the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) and the Ministry of Ukraine of Emergencies and Affairs of Popular Protection from the Consequences of Chernobyl Catastrophe provides for the exchange of relevant information during emergencies. It also includes cooperation in joint communication exercises and exchanges of operational contact details and communication templates.