Cablegate: Tfx001: Initial Ec Response to Asian Tsunami

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 273476

1. SUMMARY: The European Commission has activated two
emergency mechanisms to meet the immediate humanitarian
assistance needs arising from the December 26 earthquake and
tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. The EU,s Community Mechanism

Civil Protection Unit and Monitoring and Information Centre
(MIC) have generated and coordinated in-kind contributions
from ten member states, primarily for Sri Lanka. Most of the
contributions are in the form of medical teams and supplies.
The Commission Directorate General (DG) for Humanitarian Aid
(ECHO) immediately pledged 3 million Euros for the
International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), to be
followed by further funding decisions up to 30 million Euros
for relief efforts and a comprehensive rehabilitation
package. An initial expedited funding decision to release 10
million Euros to international organizations and NGO partners
is expected by the end of the week. The Dutch Presidency
issued a statement December 27 expressing sorrow over the
tragedy and promising further assistance. END SUMMARY.

2. MIC: After receiving news of the disaster on December
26, the two-person team on duty at MIC began coordinating
in-kind contributions from the civil protection units of
approximately 10 member states, primarily for Sri Lanka. The
contributions have been funded by the following member
states: France (air hospital, water, search and rescue);
Sweden (tents, medical relief); Greece (medical relief);
Hungary (medical team/relief); Italy (medical team); Slovakia
(medical team); Czech Republic, Malta and Bulgaria (tents,
bottled water, blankets). At this point MIC is suspending
its efforts to solicit more contributions until it hears more
from UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) assessment teams in each country.

3. ECHO: On December 26, Development Commissioner Louis
Michel announced a pledge of 3 million Euros to fund ICRC
humanitarian assistance efforts in South Asia.
Characterizing the disaster as one of the world's worst
natural disasters in many years, the Commissioner expressed
no doubt that a further "substantial sum8 of up to 30
million euros would follow for relief and a &comprehensive
rehabilitation package.8 At ECHO, the Head of Unit for
Asia, Central and Latin America (who returned from vacation
to deal with the disaster) told us that a 10 million Euro
emergency decision is underway and will probably be out by
the end of the week. ECHO is waiting for the reports of the
3-person assessment teams currently in Indonesia and Sri
Lanka. The reports are expected in the next day or two, at
which time the decision can be approved. An expedited
procedure can be used for amounts up to 10 million, and the
strategy is to get the funds out as soon as possible and then
follow up with further decisions. The funds will be released
to international organizations and NGO partners based on
needs assessments and funding requests.

4. PRESIDENCY: On December 26, the Dutch Presidency issued
a statement expressing shock and sorrow over the disaster.
The statement mentioned the immediate responses of various
member states, and said &the EU stands ready to assist in
very way possible to alleviate the sad plight of the

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