On the night of 26 November 2019, the Republic of Albania was hit by a violent earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale. Dozens of victims lost their lives and hundreds were injured. In the affected areas around the port city of Durres, many houses have been damaged. Through the emergency mechanism B-FAST, relief workers were immediately ready to respond positively to a call for international assistance from the affected country.
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The passage of the tropical cyclone Idai and the floods that accompanied it caused an enormous havoc in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. It is one of the most devastating storms affecting Southern Africa in recent history, with probably more than a thousand victims.
On Tuesday 2nd of October, Belgium had proposed first help and support to Indonesia via B-FAST. Local technical requirements described by Indonesia, as wel as related organisational requirements, do not allow however to be able to carry out the proposed mission properly.
Following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Sulawesi last Friday, the Coordination Council of B-FAST decided to offer first aid and support to Indonesia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders informs that our country sends B-FAST with relief supplies and a water purification unit to Dominica. This island in the Caribbean was heavily damaged by hurricane Maria. Belgium’s intervention comes in answer to a request for assistance from Dominica.
Hurricane Irma transited Cuba and Florida yesterday. Deputy Prime Ministers Didier Reynders and Alexander De Croo sympathise with the stricken populations in the region and present their condolences to the victims’ families.
In the last weeks and months, our country allocated almost 60 million euros in direct humanitarian emergency assistance for, amongst others, South Sudan and Yemen, and for general support for the World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), both active in the field. This was mentioned by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo, responsible for humanitarian aid.
The United Nations World Food Programme and Government of Belgium are launching an initiative to explore the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, widely known as drones) in humanitarian emergencies.
Belgium ranks 9th in the list of the 10 most important donors of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). CERF is the flexible fund for humanitarian assistance of the United Nations.
B-FAST, like other international rescue teams, closely follows the situation in Haiti, hit by Hurricane Matthew. This is done through an electronic platform of the United Nations. Based on the information from this platform, B-FAST evaluates the possibility of providing assistance. It is important that this emergency aid has an added value to the aid already deployed on the ground.