To help contain the spread of devastating wildfires, Israel has requested European assistance through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism on 24 November.
Substantial assistance has been offered via the Mechanism. Spain will shortly send four fire-fighting airplanes, and France has offered two fire-fighting airplanes as well as one investigation airplane.
In addition, bilateral support from Italy and Cyprus will be channelled through the Union Mechanism, concerning the return trip of the fire-fighting airplanes.
EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “We stand by the Israeli people and authorities at this time of need. Not only in words but with concrete support. I’m pleased that EU Member States are showing their solidarity in action. We will continue to be in close contact with the Israeli authorities to mobilise further offers of assistance as required.”
“The EU has immediately responded to the call for assistance and has helped mobilise 7 airplanes to support Israel so far, thanks to the generosity of our Member States. Our solidarity and thoughts are with all those affected and the first responders working to save lives. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this time of need” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
The Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is coordinating assistance through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, which can be activated by a Member State or a country outside the EU when it is overwhelmed by a natural or man-made disaster.
The European Commission coordinates the voluntary offers made by participating states though the Mechanism, and can co-finance the transport of relief items and experts to the country in question.
The mobilisation of assistance is coordinated through the Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), which closely monitors developments and offers the possibility of transport co-financing for the offered assistance.
The assistance can consist of items for immediate relief as well as experts and supporting intervention teams. In the case of fires, this can include fire-extinguishing aircraft. The Commission cannot send planes or equipment itself via the Mechanism.
Overall, the Mechanism facilitates the cooperation in disaster response among 34 European states (28 EU Member States, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Norway, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey).
The piece was published on the EEAS website.