On the level of the EU, the main mission of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations is to preserve lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering and safeguard the populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. Headquartered in Brussels Directorate-General with a global network of field offices, ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance.
Civil protection assistance consists of aid delivered in preparation for or immediate aftermath of a disaster in Europe and worldwide. Aid takes the form of in-kind assistance, deployment of specially-equipped teams, or experts assessing support right in the field. When a disaster overwhelms a country’s ability to contain it, other participating states step in and provide assistance. All EU Member States, as well as Serbia are taking part in the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. When extreme floods hit Serbia on May 2014 affecting and displacing thousands of people EU Civil Protection Teams were deployed to Serbia to assist authorities in to the wide scale flooding and to coordinate the incoming EU assistance. It is estimated that over 3 million people were affected by the floods, hundreds of thousands of people lost their livelihoods and were evacuated from their homes.
In the emergency phase, Serbia requested assistance in provision of clean water, health and sanitation. Key infrastructure, including bridges and roads as well as health and educational facilities, were damaged in many affected areas. These projects provide the story on EU Civil Protection and EU Humanitarian Aid when it was the hardest. Serbia has also benefitted from support via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in 2015 in an effective response to the refugee crisis. The EU has been a leading provider of humanitarian aid for refugees in Serbia. A total of more than €80 million have been provided to the country in EU migration-related funding since 2015 enabling projects related to food distribution in reception centres, the protection of the most vulnerable groups in affected populations, and education-related activities.