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 Full text 
Tuesday, 16 April 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Situation in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe after cyclone Idai (debate)

  Christos Stylianides, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, on behalf of the Commission, I would like first of all to express my personal condolences to the families and friends of the hundreds of victims in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Definitely our thoughts are with the millions of people affected by this devastating disaster.

I have said it many times in this room: Europe is about solidarity. Europe is about solidarity not only inside Europe, but also outside Europe. So we stood by the side of all three countries, with emergency funding, with in—kind assistance, and with experts on the ground.

Allow me to summarise our response, our European response, to this catastrophe. First, funding. Just a few hours after the landfall of the cyclone, we released an immediate package of assistance of EUR 3.5 million, to support access with air services to cut-off areas and hard-to-reach communities and for immediate shelter, water and sanitation.

On 9 April, we mobilised an additional EUR 12 million in humanitarian assistance for the three countries to provide shelter, water and sanitation, food, health and psychosocial support. This brings the total EU humanitarian assistance to over EUR 15 million.

Second, in—kind assistance. With separate funding of EUR 4 million we helped to deploy through our excellent instrument – the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) – relief items and in—kind assistance offered by nine EU Member States: Portugal, Spain, France, Austria, UK, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, and Denmark. I am really grateful to these countries. In parallel, we produced and shared 57 Copernicus satellite maps upon the request of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Third point, on expert teams. We immediately deployed eight EU humanitarian, epidemiology and hydrology experts to the ground, to conduct assessments and support the response in the three countries, including to the recent cholera outbreak, unfortunately. In addition, a civil protection team of 13 people was deployed on 23 March via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and of course we also helped to deploy expert teams from our Member States. All of them are still in Mozambique as we speak and are helping to save lives on the ground.

Allow me to make a nominal reference to these teams because I strongly believe we have to show to our people that our teams can do excellent work on the ground. As I said, they are still in Mozambique because they are real heroes on the ground. Portugal sent one search and rescue and one medical team. Luxembourg sent a satellite communication team to help with connectivity in affected areas. Germany and Denmark sent a team to help with water purification – very important especially because of the cholera outbreak. Italy, Spain and Germany sent emergency medical teams and equipment, also very important because of the problem of cholera and maybe other diseases. So it is thanks to rescEU, our new system to fight against natural disasters, that we can help decisively the Member States to deploy assistance inside and outside the European Union. And of course help save more lives as our campaign inside Europe.

Since day one, my team and I are monitoring the situation in the three affected countries around the clock, 24/7. Through our Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) – you will know about this – in Brussels and of course through our experts on the ground. We will continue to lead the international support efforts to the three countries, and you can rest assured that the European Union will do its best, our best, to support the longer-term reconstruction needs in the three affected countries.

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