Expatica news

Brussels ‘unprepared for catastrophe’

23 February 2004

BRUSSELS – The emergency services in Brussels would not be able to cope if the city suffered a major industrial catastrophe or a terrorist attack, the city’s governor warned on Monday.

Speaking to ‘Le Soir’ newspaper, Veronique Paulus de Chatelet, governor of the Bruxelles-capitale district, said she does not have the necessary resources to react properly in the event of a major crisis.

“Security in Brussels is not assured,” she said bluntly.

“The interior minister should take over my responsibilities as he has blocked all recruitment efforts and has not set up a crisis response centre for Brussels,” she added.

Brussels firemen agreed with Paulus de Chatelet’s grim analysis.

“We are lacking about 350 people,” said Robert Van Poppel a spokesman for the CGSP trade Union.

“The governor is right. Because the fact that Brussels is an international city means it faces specific risks,” the deputy head of the Brussels fire service, Francis Boileau, added.

Paulus de Chatelet was widely criticised for her handling of a major fire at a disused factory called Carcoke in Brussels last December.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news