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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
European Humanitarian Response Capacity (EHRC)

Factsheet

What is it?

The European Humanitarian Response Capacity (EHRC) is a set of operational tools designed to fill gaps in the humanitarian response to sudden-onset natural hazards and human-induced disasters.

This resource will help the European Commission to support partners and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance where the humanitarian community struggles with immediate response. It will also help cover the immediate needs of the affected population.

Coordinated by the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), the EHRC is based on 3 pillars:

  1. provision of common logistics services to EU humanitarian partners (among others, air and land transport operations, warehousing systems),
  2. prepositioned stockpiles of emergency items in critical areas worldwide,
  3. provision of expertise, mainly in the health and logistical sectors.

Why is this important?

Today, humanitarian needs are at an all-time high. According to the United Nations, 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022. This is a significant increase from the 235 million people in need in 2021, which was already the highest in decades.

On top of an already challenging humanitarian situation worldwide, COVID-19 has severely impacted vulnerable communities, putting a strain on food security, education and healthcare, among others.

As needs soar, humanitarian actors are called to step up to the challenge and adapt to fast-changing scenarios where even the shortest delay in field response might cost lives and further deteriorate the situation.

The EU recognises the importance of providing prompt aid. Through the EHRC, we aim to respond to sudden humanitarian disasters where swift assistance is vital and act on new developments in protracted crises.

The EHRC initiative allows the EU to intervene proactively, drawing from its resources and through targeted actions involving participating EU countries and EU partners already active in the field.

Infographic on the EHRC

How are we helping?

To ensure a swift humanitarian response to a sudden onset disaster and/or worsening of an existing crisis, the EHRC tools will be mobilised thanks to the coordination of the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).

Based on a prior evaluation and assessment, the ERCC will lead the response and decide where and how the tools should be used.

In addition, following a ‘Team Europe’approach, the EHRC will offer further opportunities for EU countries to work together to respond to emergencies.

The first two pillars of the EHRC, which operates worldwide, complementing the existing tools for EU humanitarian response are:

European Logistics Services

The common logistics services include: (i) the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operations, (ii) a greater variety of transport options such as international and in-country (last mile) transportation solutions, (iii) warehousing services, and (iv) other logistics options.

The strengthening of these logistics services aims to fill critical gaps by facilitating humanitarian aid delivery and reinforcing humanitarian or emergency responses.

Pre-positioned stockpiles

The stockpiles will hold humanitarian aid supplies such as emergency kits and other essential items ready to be deployed. The initial stock is aimed at supporting up to 53,000 beneficiaries with shelter, water and sanitation items, reducing the supply challenges in the aftermath of a crisis for humanitarian partners operating in the field.

The EU offers stockpiled goods managed by the EHRC to its humanitarian partners free of charge which can be complemented with other supplies from participating EU countries.

The first stockpile was set up in Panama in October 2022. The upcoming regional stockpiles will be hosted in Brindisi, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, for a total of four stockpiles worldwide.

Operations

In April 2022, the EHRC rolled out an operation in the Republic of Moldova to set up a warehouse in Chisinau for humanitarian partners. In addition over 5,000 EU-owned shelter items were delivered to the warehouse thanks to the implementation of two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operations.

In addition, since April, the EHRC has been providing European logistics services to humanitarian partners via the hubs in Vinnytsia, Dnipro and Kharkiv as well as the establishment of a trucking system to deploy humanitarian supplies to hard-to-reach areas where the needs are the highest. All EHRC facilities are at the disposal of humanitarian partners free of charge.

So far in 2022, the EHRC has successfully launched 11 Humanitarian Air Bridge operations in aid of Afghanistan, transporting over 350 tonnes of humanitarian goods. The EHRC also launched 17 flights to hard-to-reach areas of Somalia, transporting over 100 tonnes of medical and nutrition items.

In response to Tropical Cyclone Batsirai, the EHRC launched three Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Madagascar and facilitated the activation of an ad hoc EU Humanitarian Aid Flight operation for 3 months to transport humanitarian aid workers to affected regions across Madagascar. 

Last updated: 13/10/2022

Facts & figures

The EHRC is a set of operational tools designed to fill gaps in humanitarian response.

It consists of 3 pillars:

  • pre-positioned stockpiles with humanitarian aid supplies
  • common logistics services
  • provision of expertise

3 warehouses and trucking systems have been implemented in Moldova and Ukraine to enhance the humanitarian response for Russia’s invasion on Ukraine.

11 Humanitarian Air Bridge operations for Afghanistan, 17 operations for Somalia in 2022 and 3 flights to Madagascar. Also, the EU Humanitarian Aid Flight operation in Madagascar that transported 533 passengers and 3 tonnes of assistance.

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