Belgium sends B-FAST to Haiti following earthquake there
The whole federal government was appalled at the news of the massive earthquake that hit the island of Haiti on 12 January 2010. The government, which is closely monitoring the situation, stresses its heartfelt sympathy with the families of the victims, and the prime minister has passed a message of sympathy to the president and government of Haiti and to the United Nations Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki‑moon.
The Belgian government is mobilising all its emergency support mechanisms. The Belgian First Aid & Support Team (B-FAST) held an emergency meeting and has sent a team to Haiti to provide aid to the victims on the ground.
B-FAST can intervene if three conditions are met:
- A major disaster has occurred and the emergency services of the country affected cannot provide the assistance required to deal with it.
- The local authorities have asked for assistance from Belgium or in any case the international community to cope with the disaster.
- The country must not be the scene of any armed conflict.
All these conditions have been met in the case of the earthquake in Haiti.
The team sent by Belgium comprises some 60 people, including:
- a medical intervention team with a field hospital (20 people);
- an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team (30 people) and four sniffer dogs;
- a drinking-water purification facility with two technicians.
The team’s mission will last about 10 days and is receiving financial support from the Flemish government and the governments of the Walloon Region and the French Community.
No information is yet available about any Belgian victims in Haiti.
For any urgent questions you may have about this disaster, you can contact the crisis centre of the FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation on the emergency numbers 02 501 4000 (hotline in Dutch) and 02 501 4001 (hotline in French).
Read the press release with the prime minister’s reaction to the earthquake in Haiti (French-Dutch)
Read the press release with the reaction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the earthquake in Haiti (French-Ducth)
Read the press release containing more details about the B-FAST team sent by Belgium (French-Dutch)