Belgium sends aid workers to quake disaster zone
10 October 2005, BRUSSELS — Belgium is to deploy a B-Fast emergency assistance team to the Pakistan earthquake disaster zone and is donating EUR 350,000 in humanitarian aid.
10 October 2005
BRUSSELS — Belgium is to deploy a B-Fast emergency assistance team to the Pakistan earthquake disaster zone and is donating EUR 350,000 in humanitarian aid.
At least 20,000 people are thought to have been killed in Pakistan, but there are fears the toll might double.
Saturday's 7.6 magnitude earthquake is thought to have been the strongest the region has seen in a century. Many areas hit by the quake are only just being reached by aid workers.
In response, Belgium is one of many countries that have offered aid.
Its B-Fast team consists of 25 members, such as doctors, nurses and logistic experts. The team will depart on Tuesday, but an exact time is not yet known.
The team consists of a medical unit from the Brussels Free University and the Antwerp University Hospital. The logistics team is made up of Red Cross workers, plus Health and Interior Ministry public servants.
Pakistan is still to decide where the team will deployed in the disaster zone, newspaper 'Het Laatste Nieuws' reported on Monday.
The Belgian government has also increased its offer of aid from EUR 250,000 to EUR 350,000. The money will be used for the purchase of tents and cooking material via the Red Cross.
Meanwhile, two Belgian doctors with the volunteer aid group Doctors without Borders arrived in Pakistan on Monday to assist in earthquake relief efforts.
The two Belgian doctors will start working on Tuesday in Bach, a village in the vicinity of Muzaffarabad, the regional capital.
One of the medics, Krist Teirlinck, said 90 percent of the village had been destroyed by the devastating quake.
Five other Belgian doctors will also depart shortly to strengthen the Belgium's team's emergency assistance efforts. They will work in closely with Dutch colleagues.
The two volunteer Doctors without Borders — known as the French abbreviation of MSF — have not yet reached the earthquake damage terrain because access remains difficult.
They were making their way to Bach on Monday.
"The village is almost completely destroyed, there are 3,000 deaths. The seven Belgian MSF doctors will start work there," Teirlinck explained.
The Dutch volunteers will be stationed in a more northerly region. Relief efforts will be co-ordinated from Muzaffarabad, which is located 100km north of the Pakistan capital of Islamabad.
When the earthquake took place, a Belgian MSF evaluation team was in the region and immediately joined relief efforts by the Dutch MSF team, which has a permanent post in Kashmir.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news