European coordination in Iran

On 26 December 2003, the Iranian Authorities send the European Union a request for international assistance. As an international emergency occurring in a State outside of the European Union, and in compliance with the provisions of the Community Mechanism for Civil Protection, it is Italy, as the current President of the European Union, to coordinate European assistance on Iranian territory. 

The Civil Protection Department in liaison with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs arranges for the immediate dispatch of the Italian team. Mr. Agostino Miozzo of the Department of Civil Protection, head of the Italian mission, is appointed as Coordination Head for European intervention.

Below are the main stages of the European coordination activities:

27 December
The Italian delegation arrives at the airport of Bam in the late morning of 27 December. During the briefing carried out by the Iranian Government, the EU Coordination Head – Mr. Miozzo from the Italian Civil Protection - is informed of the fact that the international teams are beginning to set up a base camp in Bam, at the Military Garden (Seppah) where there is also a local authority Crisis Centre.
In the early afternoon, the Italian delegation meets the Governor of Kerman, the Iranian military Authorities and the German Consul. The delegation decides to station the European Union coordination centre inside the Military Garden. The local authorities ask Italy to operate in the town of Baravat (approximately 6 km from Bam) which has been seriously damaged by the quake and where rescue operations are urgently needed.

28 December
At the meeting at 9 am, OCHA, the Agency of the United Nations that handles the coordination of aid, divides the territory of Bam into ten intervention areas, assigning each one to the international Search and Rescue teams. Following contacts with the representatives from the member states present at the Military Garden in Bam, the Coordination Head calls the first European meeting the same afternoon in the coordination tent, which is attended by: Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy. After a “round table” meeting, the representatives of the Nations present exchange information regarding the intervention area, the number of personnel and the equipment used in the search and rescue operations.
It is an important opportunity to share information and discuss problems in order to optimise resources in support of team interventions and logistics.

29 December
The Coordination Head calls two meetings (at 9.30 and 17.00) involving Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Italy and representatives from ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Aid Office) who have arrived in Bam that afternoon. During the meetings, the function of EU coordination is reiterated and its specificity with regard to United Nations coordination. It is underlined to all participants that the coordination underway is produced by the willingness of the member states of the Union to make the Community Mechanism operative. The ECHO team asks if it may use the coordination point and the equipment installed to carry out their humanitarian aid activities.

31 December 
In the late afternoon, a delegation from the Iranian Ministry for Foreign Affairs visits the EU coordination tent, complimenting the work and the assistance offered by member states.

1 January 2004
Germany, through the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), in agreement with the EU coordination, provides inflatable tanks, guaranteeing the daily supply of treated water in the German base camp. Italy asks for a tank to put in the Italian camp in Baravat.

2 January 2004
At 14.00, in accordance with Brussels and the local authorities, the European Union coordination in Iran formally draws to a close. The Italian Civil Protection proposes a technical meeting to analyse and evaluate the general intervention of member states as a whole. The meeting takes place in Italy in February 2004.