The EU is mobilising to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti

The Presidency, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, the Commission and ECHO are working together to give an urgent, coordinated and effective help to Haiti after the hearthquake that has devastated Port-au-Prince. 3 million euros have already been sent to the caribbean country.

Brussels will send a plane this afternoon with a team of experts to assess the situation and help the Haitian authorities, and he added that Spain has offered the operational base which the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation has in Panama, both to the High Representative and to all of the Member States so that humanitarian aid reaches Haiti.

The European Commission has moved immediately to help the victims of the earthquake which struck Haiti by adopting a fast-track "primary emergency" decision of €3 million for immediate relief activities. Relief experts are on their way to Haiti to strengthen the EU's response capabilities on the ground. In addition, the European Union's Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated, with its Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) coordinating the activities.

Following initial assessments of the situation on the ground, ECHO will use its fast-track relief funding to provide a €3 million initial package of humanitarian assistance. The funding will be used to meet basic needs of the stricken population including shelter and medical assistance. Funding is channelled through experienced international relief organisations.

Relief funds are channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Karel De Gucht. The Commission is already one of the largest humanitarian donors in Haiti providing around €28 million since 2008.

An ECHO relief expert based in the Dominican Republic is expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince later today to carry out a first needs assessment