11 January 2004
BRUSSELS – Ninety Belgian soldiers headed to Sri Lanka and Indonesia on Tuesday to help the world’s relief effort after the tsunami.
Among the volunteers, 60 soldiers will be based in Galle in Sri Lanka, organising refugee camps. They will do tasks like ensuring water is purified and fishing boats are built.
“These are very concrete missions, which are at the heart of the reconstruction process,” said Defence Minister Andre Flahaut.
Around 20 others will land at Medan, to head to Banda Aceh in the north of the Island of Sumatra. They will join a German medical team which has set up a hospital of 120 people.
Five Belgian soldiers will give back up to the civil protection teams.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt promised further Belgian aid would continue in the weeks and months to come. In total, Belgium is to send 500 people to the countries affected by the tsunami.
On Tuesday, it was also reported that the number of Belgians missing following the disaster is falling, as people return home from holidays, make contact with relatives or are withdrawn from the list by officials who find they are not registered in Belgium.
There are now 50 Belgians who still haven’t been tracked down in Asia, down from 85, and the total number of Belgians who died in the disaster currently remains at six.
Over 150,000 people died in the tsunami disaster.
People living in Belgium can make a donations to help tsunami victims via the following website:
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news