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Dutch water experts to travel to the Punjab, Pakistan

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The Punjab region of Pakistan has asked the Netherlands to send water experts to identify ways of preventing future flooding. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen, who is currently in Pakistan, has promised to bring in the Dutch Risk Reduction Team (DRR team).

The region suffers from flooding nearly every year. In 2010 floods caused widespread destruction and made 20 million people reliant on emergency aid. ‘With the right expertise and investments we can prevent these kinds of human and economic disasters,’ Ms Ploumen said.

The DRR team is a joint initiative of Ms Ploumen and Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment. It works with a pool of 150 experts, representing businesses, knowledge institutions, NGOs and public bodies in the Dutch water sector, to provide a quick response to floods, drought and water pollution. The team focuses on reconstruction and prevention rather than emergency aid. The experts advise on solutions, and identify opportunities for Dutch businesses to get involved: ‘a great combination of aid and trade’, said Ms Ploumen.

Dutch embassies started bringing the team to the notice of foreign governments six months ago, and there has been a great deal of interest. In addition to Pakistan, arrangements have already been made for the team to assist Mexico, China, Burma, the Philippines and Senegal.