Following a request for assistance from Lithuania, the European Commission is helping European countries send support through the European Civil Protection Mechanism. Lithuania asked for help following increased arrivals of migrants and asylum seekers coming from the Middle East and Africa and entering Lithuania via the border with Belarus. Already twelve countries have offered support such as tents, beds and generators. The Commission coordinates the delivery and finances up to 75% of the costs for transporting the assistance.
Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management said: “*Lithuania's border is an external EU border, which is currently experiencing an unprecedented influx of migrants and asylum seekers. These people, many of the vulnerable, need urgent support such as food and shelter. The European Union and other Member States will not leave Lithuania in this difficult situation alone. Already many EU countries have offered support and we are ready to send more help as needed.*”
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “The authoritarian regime in Belarus is exploiting human beings for political reasons: this is completely unacceptable. The European Union and the Member States are showing strong solidarity with Lithuania, and together we fully support civil society in Belarus. Humanitarian support will make sure basic needs such as food and shelter are met. The Commission is ready to provide further emergency funding to Lithuania as needed. Also Union agencies are quickly providing support: the European Asylum Support Office is helping protect people, manage reception and process asylum applications; Frontex is deploying personnel and equipment to protect the European external border; and Europol is deploying staff to help safeguard European internal security.”
The following support has been offered to Lithuania and will be sent to help meet the basic needs of people entering the country:
- Austria: 300 pillows, 500 bedding sets, 20 water containers, 200 jerry cans, 5 generators, 1,000 blankets;
- Croatia: 200 sleeping bags, 200 blankets, 200 pillows, 200 mattresses, 100 bunk beds, 10 winter tents;
- Czechia: 20 tents, 20 heaters, 500 blankets, 500 sleeping bags, 100 foldable beds, 100 mattresses;
- Estonia: 10 tents, 10 heaters, 10 air conditioners, 10 interior lighting lamps, 100 foldable beds, 100 foldable chairs, 100 sleeping bags, and 30 foldable tables;
- Finland: 3 warehouse tents, 2,000 blankets;
- Greece: 2,000 blankets, 192 mattresses, 192 bunk beds, and 400 pillows;
- Latvia: 3,000 blankets, 3 tents with heaters, 3 electric generators and 5 interior lighting kits;
- Norway: 2,500 bunk beds, 5,000 mattresses;
- Poland: 20 tents, 5 tent heaters, 300 camp beds, 100 pillows, 1,200 blankets, 100 stools, 6 generators, 10 tables, 100 lockers;
- Slovakia: 360 foldable chairs, 2 electric generators, 300 sleeping bags, 2 water tanks, 10 lightning sets, 120 foldable tables, 100 sleeping mats, 54 heaters, 360 blankets and 6 tents;
- Slovenia: 400 food rations, 700 blankets and 20 electric generators;
- Sweden: 75 interior lighting, 6 generators, 1,280 bunk beds, 1,007 mattresses.
The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre is coordinating the assistance and will support the transportation costs.
Last year, 74 people crossed Lithuania's border with Belarus. In 2021 already close to 2,100 people entered Lithuania, especially in June and July. Most of the persons crossing into Lithuania from Belarus are from Iraq, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Guinea and Iran.
In response, on 12 July Frontex has launched a rapid border intervention at Lithuania's border with Belarus to assist the Lithuanian authorities. The agency deployed Frontex's border guards together with officers from the Member States as part of the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps. Frontex also sent patrol cars and specialised officers for conducting interviews with migrants to gather information on criminal networks involved and support the exchange of operational information.
The assistance announced today is coordinated by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which strengthens cooperation between the EU Member States and 6 Participating States in the field of civil protection, with a view to improve prevention, preparedness and response to disasters. When the scale of an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the Mechanism.
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