Haiti

Belgium helps victims of the earthquake in Haiti

Format
News and Press Release
Source
Posted
Originally published
Origin
View original
Belgium is taking action to help Haiti in the form of a B-FAST emergency team and funds to provide emergency aid, following the massive earthquake that has devastated the country. Belgian Development Cooperation has freed up €1 million for these efforts. The B-FAST emergency team comprises a medical intervention team, an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team and a drinking-water purification facility.

On the night of Tuesday, 12 to Wednesday, 13 January, Haiti - the poorest country in the western hemisphere - was hit by a devastating earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale and, according to initial estimates, claiming tens of thousands of lives. Many buildings collapsed in the capital Port-au-Prince, including the presidential palace, a number of ministries and the UN offices in the country, and the slight improvements in Haitians' living conditions that have been seen in recent years were undone in a matter of a few seconds.

€1 million for affected communities

Belgian Development Cooperation quickly decided to free up €1 million to purchase and coordinate emergency aid. International organisations such as UNICEF and NGOs, e.g. the Belgian Red Cross, were contacted with a view to spending these funds as effectively as possible, since aid must be used to help the worst-affected sections of the population, which is why Belgian Development Cooperation is advocating careful international coordination of the aid effort.

B-FAST emergency team

A B-FAST emergency team left for Haiti on Wednesday evening to help the victims of the earthquake. The team comprises some 60 people, falling into three groups:

a medical intervention team with a field hospital (20 people);

an Urban Search and Rescue team of 33 people and four sniffer dogs;

a drinking-water purification facility with two technicians.

The total cost of this B-FAST mission is estimated to be about €450,000, including €300,000 for transport, €80,000 for the field hospital and €30,000 for water purification.