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NATO Opens Disaster Relief Coordination Center

By Linda D. Kozaryn
National Guard Bureau

BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 4, 1998 – NATO's 44-member Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council established the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center and a Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Unit during meetings in Luxembourg May 29. The center will coordinate disaster relief efforts by NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.

The council, founded in May 1997, provides the framework for political and security consultations and enhanced cooperation under the Partnership for Peace. NATO's 16 member nations and 28 Partnership for Peace countries make up the council.

The coordination center opened at the Manfred Woerner Building June 3. Working with the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, center officials will coordinate NATO and partner nations' responses to natural and technological disasters within the Euro-Atlantic area.

The disaster response unit, made up of designated civil and military rescue, medical and other units volunteered by council members, will deploy upon request of countries struck by disaster.

National elements will remain under national control while deployed, NATO officials said.

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