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Belgium is currently planning to send a B-Fast Emergency Medical Team (called EMT 2) to Turkey. Our country will set up a field hospital and send personnel to provide the necessary medical assistance to the local population and help reducing the pressure on the Turkish hospitals. The first experts will depart for the heavily affected country tomorrow. Also, 10,000 sleeping bags are sent along.
On February 6, Turkey was hit by a powerful earthquake that left several thousands of people dead and tens of thousands injured. Hospitals in the region are overwhelmed by the number of injured and local capacity was quickly reached. Thousands of people currently do not have access to emergency medical care. The Turkish authorities have therefore requested international assistance to deploy specialized field hospitals in addition to Search and Rescue teams. The B-FAST planning committee gathered immediately and held a meeting with the Turkish embassy in Brussels to provide the most efficient assistance to the affected areas.
The field hospital provided to Turkey can treat more than 100 patients per day and accommodate at least 20 patients for overnight observation. The team will include Belgian doctors, specialized in emergency surgery, supported by emergency nurses and other specific medical profiles. The team will be able to perform surgeries on site and provide other vital medical assistance. A special section called "mother and child" will also be provided. The field hospital helps to ease the burden on Turkish hospitals. A few weeks after such earthquake, the healthcare system continues to be under pressure. Depending on the needs on the ground, the team will remain on the ground for several weeks. The total team will consist of 70 to 80 people.
A reconnaissance team will leave tomorrow to locate places where the field hospital can be set up. A second team will then leave this weekend to set up the entire field hospital, which is expected to be running by next Thursday.
Given the extreme weather conditions, it was also decided to send 10,000 sleeping bags immediately.
The entire hospital, consisting of several dozens of containers, will be transported by the Defence aircraft from Melsbroek military airport. Medical specialists are mainly volunteers called in by the FPS Public Health, as well as military medical personnel. The FPS Home Affairs is responsible for the construction and the FPS Foreign Affairs is responsible for the diplomatic part. The overall management of the whole operation from Belgium is ensured by the B-FAST Secretariat, at the Crisis Centre of the FPS Foreign Affairs. For the entire operation, 8 million euros are anticipated.
B-FAST is the structure of the federal government that is activated when sending emergency aid abroad and consists of FPS Public Health, Defense, FPS Home Affairs, Bosa, and FPS Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation.
This operation is supported by the European Union and is part of the European coordination of crisis situations.
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