Brussels, 12 January 2009
The European Commission has activated its Community Mechanism for Civil Protection at the request of the Republic of Moldova, to help the local population affected by the gas disruption during the ongoing dispute between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Assistance is being provided by Austrian authorities in the form of large capacity heaters and electrical generators which will arrive today in Chisinau. The European Union's Civil Protection Mechanism was triggered at the request of the Moldovan authorities on Friday, the 9th of January 2008.
EU Civil Protection Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "I am pleased to see Member States' react to a call for assistance from the Republic of Moldova. Austria is providing a great service to the Moldovan people affected by gas crisis during this particularly difficult winter."
The Community Civil Protection Mechanism was activated by the Republic of Moldova following an ongoing gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine which began earlier this month. The Moldovan authorities requested assistance from the Mechanism on the evening of 9 January to help its local population deal with power and heating shortages. The country, which completely relies on gas imported from Russia, has been seriously affected by the total disruption of gas supply from Russia during a particularly intense winter. More than 50,000 people have been left without gas supplies.
The Mechanism was activated on 9 January following consultations with Czech Presidency and the EC Delegation in the Republic of Moldova.
Following this request, Austria has mobilised large capacity heaters and electrical generators which are set to arrive today, in the capital Chisinau. These will be largely distributed to hospitals, orphanages and other services in greatest need. The Moldovan authorities are supported by a team of experts from Sweden, Czech Republic and France and a MIC liaison officer. Under arrangements agreed in 2007 between European Member States, the Commission will be able to co-finance the transportation of the assistance provided by Austria to the Republic of Moldova.
The Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) is operated by DG Environment in the European Commission. It 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 plays three important roles: serving as a communications hub for the exchange of requests and offers of assistance; providing information on civil protection preparedness and response to participating states as well as a wider audience of interested stakeholders; supporting co-ordination of the provision of European assistance.
Further information can be found here: