EU funds help: A humanitarian base is unique
15. 1. 2021
European funds were used to create the National Humanitarian Aid Base which continues to help. From the warehouse in Zbiroh, a package now travels to Iran.
Zbiroh is a small, beautiful town located between Pilsen and Prague near the D5 motorway. Nestled in a beautiful countryside, it boasts a historical gem in the form of the Zbiroh Chateau with the deepest well in Europe. Thanks to a subsidy from the European Union, it has also been the seat of a unique National Humanitarian Aid Base (NZHP) for the last nine years.
Thanks to the project for more than 85 million Czech crowns, the former military complex could be transformed into a huge warehouse of material. Material that can save lives in an emergency.
"We started planning the base in 2008. There were two places in the game, Zbiroh and Hradec Králové. The building in Zbiroh seemed optimal. In 2009 and 2010, we implemented the entire project worth approximately 85 million Czech crowns. The European Union financed 85%, specifically from the European Regional Development Fund through the Integrated Operational Programme. The rest was paid from the state budget," says Vlastimil Gothard, Director of the Storage and Repair Facility of the Fire and Rescue Service of the Czech Republic, which manages the National Humanitarian Aid Base in Zbiroh.
In 2010, the base was created. It improves the entire process of recovery from crisis events and disasters. Among other things, the National Humanitarian Aid Base enables faster distribution of necessary materials to the place of need or to the affected areas.
EVERYTHING IN ONE PLACE
The fact that, thanks to the project, we managed to set up a large hall with an area of 2,500 storage metres, makes Zbiroh an important point - in fact, a transport hub where supplies are collected and then delivered to where they are needed. Everything here works like clockwork and you only need to observe for a moment how the warehouse workers with forklifts and the local twelve workers are synchronised and you feel like you are at a ballet.
Every item in the warehouse has its place and is carefully recorded in the datasheets. It should be added that at the time of our visit, a large humanitarian shipment worth approximately 2.3 million Czech crowns was being prepared and completed here. Now, it is already helping to mitigate the consequences of large-scale floods in Iran. "Floods are situations that we have helped to address several times in the Czech Republic. In addition to means to recover from floods and other accidents, we also have means from the chemical area. For example, for the case of bird flu. Or we can also create a field humanitarian base, something like a field town, including catering and sanitary facilities for a larger number of inhabitants who have lost the roof over their heads,” Director Gothard explains.
He adds with one breath that it is important to be prepared, but at the same time it is best not to need it. Local workers are happy when no one needs anything from their warehouse. If so, it means that something bad has happened
"Over the period of operation of the base, which cost the mentioned 85 million, we have already shipped material assistance and supplies worth about one hundred million Czech crowns," the director gives the balance.
THE ONLY BASE OF ITS KIND IN EUROPE
Aid has travelled from Zbiroh to various parts of the world. In recent years, pallets with humanitarian aid have also gone to the states of the former Yugoslavia, Greece, France, Hungary, Slovenia, Macedonia or Ukraine.
Moreover, the National Humanitarian Aid Base is the only one of its kind in Europe. And so it is said to be often admired by foreign visitors. "Foreign officials as well as foreign firefighting colleagues always tell us: Oh well, it's easily done when you have such a facility and such conditions," Gothard is pleased.
The base is connected to the capacities of the State Material Reserves Administration, the Ministry of Health and others and is ready for immediate and full involvement in logistical capacities for the provision of humanitarian aid under the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. You can also visit the base on 25 May as part of the Open Day of projects supported by EU funds, organized by the Ministry of Regional Development.
Photo: Deník daily/ Z. Vaiz