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Given the change of paradigms with regard to security policy in Europe, it is also the image of civil defence that has strongly changed in practice during the past years. The possibility of wars between states in Western Europe can be exluded for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, it is also the protection against the effects of war actions within the framework of civil defence that have, to a large extent, become less significant. Civil defence is the generic term for a large number of measures taken for the protection of the population against dangers caused by nature or civilization, as well as for the provision of help in the respective crises. Civil defence must therefore be understood as a pluralistic system of catastrophy prevention and help provision, which falls within the responsibility of the Federal Government, its Länder, districts, municipalities, action organisations and citizens.
Civil defence includes activities for managing catastrophies and crisis situations of the most different kinds, including
The implementation of the objectives of civil defence is mainly effected on the following two levels:
Since May 2003, the Federal Ministry of the Interior has been not only in charge of the co-ordination in matters of national disaster protection management but also of national crisis management and international disaster relief.
Consequently, the competence for co-ordination in national or international cases of emergency is now in one hand on a federal level for the first time, thereby enabling a better and faster reaction in crisis situations.
BM.I Bundesministerium für Inneres, Abteilung II/13 (Einsatz-, Krisen- und Katastrophenkoordination) 1010 Wien,Telefon: +43-1-53126-3657