The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated to assist Croatia in the aftermath of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Zagreb and Petrinje. The assistance for the earthquake came after a request from Croatian authorities on 29 December.
Vice-President of the European Commission Dubravka Šuica and the European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič arrived in Zagreb, Croatia. They already met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. Together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior Davor Božinović they will then visit the hardest hit town Petrinja.
Commissioner Lenarčič said, “I arrived to Croatia today to assure the Croatian people that the EU stands in full solidarity with them. Our Emergency Response Coordination Centre will continue to mobilise immediate assistance. I am very thankful to countries that have immediately rushed to Croatia’s help in these difficult times. My thoughts are with all those affected, especially those who have lost loved ones, and with the brave first responders on the scene who are doing their best to help people in need.”
6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Croatia
The earthquake, which hit the central part of the country, has killed several people. It caused extensive damage to numerous homes and infrastructure. In an immediate response, the European Commission helped mobilise assistance from various Member States. It will be dispatched swiftly to the affected areas.
Vice-President Šuica added, “2020 has been a very difficult year. As we mourn the dead and plan the reconstruction, we need to also learn lessons to mitigate the impact of these tragedies, where possible. Even though nature cannot be controlled, we can study how and where people live; we need to apply what we are learning in my portfolio on demography to help people to take maximum advantage of the opportunities available to them. At the moment I am developing the commission’s vision and work for rural areas, but I am also making preparations to propose initiatives in urban environments. The situation I am witnessing today will inform me in all aspects of my work for the rest on my mandate.”
EU countries send relief as Croatia earthquake assistance
Immediate assistance offered by Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey includes much-needed housing containers, winterised tents, sleeping bags, beds, and electrical heaters.
Austria has sent 470 beds, Italy has provided 100 winter tents, Greece 40 tents and heaters as well as beds and sleeping bags, and Romania, Sweden and Czech Republic have also sent relief.
In addition, the EU’s Copernicus emergency management service is helping to provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas. The European Union’s 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in regular contact with Croatian authorities. They closely monitor the situation and channel further EU assistance.
Crisis Management in Petrinje after Croatia earthquake
Emergency Response Coordination Centre
The Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is the heart of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. It coordinates the delivery of assistance to disaster stricken countries. The assistance includes relief items, expertise, civil protection teams and specialised equipment. The centre ensures the rapid deployment of emergency support and acts as a coordination hub between all EU Member States. The mechanism along with EU 27 States involves 6 additional Participating States, the UK during the transition period, the affected country, and civil protection and humanitarian experts. The centre operates 24/7 and can help any country inside or outside the EU. The affected country by a major disaster can request assistance from the national authorities or a UN body.
A well-coordinated response to man-made disasters and natural hazards at European level can avoid duplication of relief efforts. It also ensures that assistance is tailored to the needs of those affected. To lessen the burden on contributing states, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre can liaise directly with the national civil protection authorities of the country in need. It can also financially support the delivery of civil protection teams and assets to the affected country.
Copernicus emergency management service
Copernicus is an EU programme, developing European information services. It is based on satellite Earth Observation and in situ (non space) data. European Commission runs the Copernicus programme. Also European Space Agency (ESA) supports for the Space component and the European Environment Agency (EEA) for the in situ component.
The objective of Copernicus is to monitor and forecast the state of the environment on land, sea and in the atmosphere. Satellite Data provide support mainly for climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. Also satellite serves the efficient management of emergency situations and the improvement of the security of every citizen. Information provided by Copernicus improves people’s safety. Copernicus provides information on natural disasters such as forest fires or floods. It helps to prevent the loss of lives and property, and damages to the environment.