At noon on 30 October 2020, there were strong seismic vibrations 17 km north of Samos which reached a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale. These vibrations were felt as far away as Athens and along the coast of the neighbouring country. The exact number of dead and injured are unknown and the widespread damage to property is yet to be assessed.
On 31 October 2020, Greek Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Alexis Georgoulis and Petros Kokkalis of the Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left tabled a written parliamentary question to the European Commission.
The MEPs asked the Commission “could the affected areas receive direct assistance through rescEU?”
On 16 December, Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic responded on behalf of the European Commission.
Commissioner Lenarcic stated that “the Commission offered its condolences to Greece following the earthquake on 30 October 2020” and “its Emergency Response Coordination Centre, the operational arm of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), was also in contact with the Greek civil protection authorities to offer EU support”.
Commissioner Lenarcic reported that “the UCPM can coordinate and co-finance the deployment of teams or assets in response to natural disasters when the scale of an event overwhelms national capacities” and “as this consists of government-to-government assistance, the affected country must first request external assistance”. He added that “in this instance, Greece has not requested EU support in response to this emergency”.
In closing, Commissioner Lenarcic concluded that “the UCPM operates on the basis of voluntary offers of assistance from Member States or UCPM Participating States in response to such a request” and “rescEU, as part of the UCPM, is intended as a safety net, when Member and Participating States are unable to offer assets available at national level”.
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/samos-greece-island-sea-water-931200/