6 September 2004
BRUSSELS – Three days after the tragic end to the Beslan school siege, the Belgian government is still hesitant over whether to send aid to the victims, it emerged on Monday.
The Russian Red Cross at the weekend issued an urgent appeal for medical aid after the bloody end to the three day hostage crisis in South Ossetia.
“Medical equipment is urgently needed in the next two days or more victims could die,” said the aid organisation in a statement.
Belgian defence minister Andre Flahaut said he was looking at possible ways for Belgium to send aid, following Italy’s speedy decision to send two planeloads of medicine.
One way would be to send the rapid response Belgian First Aid and Support Team (B-Fast) which was set up to assist foreign disasters.
But the foreign affairs minister, who is responsible for the B-Fast team, said that no request had been made to him, and no decision has yet been made.
Meanwhile, devastated Beslan residents turned out for a second wave of mass funerals on Monday.
More than 170 victims of the school siege are scheduled to be buried.
In total, 330 are believed to have been killed, around half of them children.
Desperate relatives are still trying to find the 200 victims who are still missing, to determine whether they are dead or alive.
Two days of mourning have begun across Russia and flags are flying at half-mast.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news