27 Belgians still ‘missing’ after Katrina
7 September 2005
BRUSSELS — The Foreign Affairs Ministry has still been unable to make contact with 27 Belgians after the devastating hurricane Katrina hit the southern US coast last week.
However, that figure is significantly lower than the 117 Belgians who were said to be uncontactable late last week.
A ministry spokesman said the number of people still to be contacted was not alarming, but “we cannot rule out that there are Belgian victims”.
US authorities fear thousands of people have been killed in New Orleans and along the Gulf coast.
The forced evacuation of New Orleans was ordered on Wednesday as fears grew of disease. Environmental pollution is also feared as the city is pumped dry.
The Belgian consul in Atlanta is trying to locate the 27 Belgians in co-operation with the consulate-general in New York.
Belgium also has an honorary consulate in New Orleans, but due to the damage inflicted by Katrina, the consulate cannot be utilised to its full capacity.
A team of 10 Belgian logistical experts has arrived in the US to assist in emergency response efforts.
Five experts will operate from Baton Rouge (Louisiana) and five from Montgomery in Alabama.
At the request of the American Red Cross, the Belgian team will assist in organising relief efforts over the next three weeks.
Belgium is one of 21 EU member states that have offered support to the hurricane victims, the European Commission said on Tuesday. Norway and Romania have also offered assistance.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news