European countries send disaster response teams to Sicily for weekend exercise

Disaster response teams from across Europe head for Sicily this weekend for an exercise that will test their search, rescue and other skills in dealing with a simulated natural disaster.

Teams from France, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Italy and Britain were participating in the exercise to respond to damage caused by a simulated earthquake.

The teams are part of the European Civil Protection Mechanism that coordinates civil protection assistance from 30 European countries. The ECPM often trains rescue teams, sending them through simulated disaster scenarios. It also coordinated EU aid after Hurricane Katrina and the December tsunami in Southeast Asia. A.M.