Natural disasters have become the norm across Europe with over 200 people being killed in various disasters in 2017 while the cost to the economy 2016 disasters is estimated at €10 billion in damages.
Earthquakes, storms, flash floods and forest fires have taken place in many EU countries, all of which have left affected countries suffering badly and in humanitarian need, and many of which required international assistance.
Report: Declan Keogh in Bucharest in association with RiteLite Systems
This week, one of the biggest medical exercises in the EU took place in Romania, involving thousands of people from many countries. The exercise surrounds an earthquake which hit on Saturday morning shortly after 0830hrs in Bucharest.
On Sunday, Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management travelled from Brussels to various medical sites in Romania and met with those involved in the exercise which is part of ModEX, Modulation Exercise which is part the EU Civil Protection.
Emergency Medical Team Type 3, EMT 3 is the biggest module at the exercise.
Emergency Times was invited to visit the exercise in Romania, and with thanks to our sponsors RiteLite.co.uk and we spoke with the Commissioner on Sunday night. When asked how the European Commission is supporting various states in a joint capacity for the preparedness and prevention of disasters, Commissioner Stylianides said their proposal for RescEU, a new modernisation of rescue is a very specific proposal to upgrade the current system.
“Through the current procedure in the EU mechanism, we have achieved a lot and we have to admit that the kind of system was adequate 10 or 15 years ago, but the current system and the current structure was established in a different way, in different conditions and it was adaptable in a different period, now, due to climate change we have to adjust ourselves.”
Commissioner Christos Stylianides. (Photo: Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)
“We have already proposed the already proposal for RescEU, and this proposal is a very specific to upgrade the current system, and through RescEU we believe we can deal with a better way to the new phenomena of natural disasters due to climate change and this and this medical exercise here is something very unique and impressive because we saw a lot of participants across Europe, many of our member states, of course some of our neighbours, and through this exercise we can understand some weaknesses on the ground and at the same time and we can have a lot of lessons learned in order to increase our collaboration specific to any real term natural disasters.”
The Humanitarian Commissioner believes that climate change is a real issue and not fake news and the EU is working to prevent climate action from causing these disasters. Commissioner Stylianides told Declan Keogh “Personally, I strongly believe that climate change is not fake news, and the science is clear, and all the scientific figures are clear. What is happening now is a precaution due to climate change. We must adjust ourselves in these new circumstances and this is why we have already proposed RescEU, the upgrade to the current system. At the same time, the European Union and all of its members states who insist on the implementation of the Paris Agreement regarding climate change, so the European Union is leading by example regarding climate change.
Photo James Doyle / Emergency Times)
We will need to continue this is programme because we have to adapt ourselves regarding climate change ad the most important this is to implement the Paris Agreement” he said.
The EU and its Civil Protection continue to work to strengthen disaster management in Europe. The RescEU proposal which was proposed last year is making good headway and according to Commissioner Stylianides, preparedness and prevention are key o this proposal. “RescEU is the EU’s proposal to strengthen the current system. This will focus on two pillars, firstly, to increase our European capacity equipment in forest fires for example but we also focus on Prevention and Preparedness. Without Prevention and Preparedness, it is difficult to deal with the new phoneme, and through the RescEU, we can increase our coordination among our member states.
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