Commissioner Stylianides opened the Modex Romania exercise on 14 October – the largest EU Civil Protection exercise to date.

The largest medical exercise ever conducted within the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism – 2018 Modex Romania – took place in Bucharest, Romania in mid-October, to assess the capacities of the medical teams and experts to coordinate between teams from different countries.

The simulation mobilised over 1000 people and involved medical teams from Austria, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Norway, and Israel, with experts from other states participating in the mechanism.

The exercise was a unique opportunity to assess the functioning of the Civil Protection Mechanism and the common European response to disasters, according to Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

This Mechanism has proven its value on countless occasions, such as during the devastating forest fires in Southern and Northern Europe this summer. But there is always room for improvement of our capacities and coordination to save lives in Europe and around the world. This is why Modex is so useful and important for us.”

The exercise rolled out the following scenario: A simulated a 7.5 scale earthquake hits Bucharest causing widespread damage to infrastructure, with a large number of wounded. National capacities are overwhelmed and Romania activates the EU Civil Protection Mechanism through which assistance from participating countries is channelled. Urban search and rescue and medical teams need to be set up as well as evacuation planes to bring wounded people to safe places in Romania and other EU Member States.

Previous exercises took place in the UK, Denmark, Bulgaria, and Austria. Exercises at EU level are organised by the participating countries in the Mechanism with a financial contribution from the European Commission.

The Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates co-operation in disaster response among 34 states (28 EU Member States, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey). The participating countries pool the resources that are available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism co-ordinates the provision of assistance inside and outside the EU. The Commission manages the Mechanism through the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).

The Mechanism was activated for some of the most devastating disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti (2010), the tsunami in Japan (2011), typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines (2013), the Ebola outbreak (2014), the conflict in Ukraine (2014), the earthquake in Nepal (2015), and numerous floods and forest fires in Europe.