B-FAST sends water purification module and team of experts to Pakistan

Pakistan has been hit by severe floods starting this summer, covering a third of the country with water. The human toll and material damage of the floods are devastating : more than 1,600 lives were lost and 33 million people were impacted.

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On 29 August, the Pakistani government asked the international community for international assistance to deal with the humanitarian disaster. Belgium, through its Belgian First Aid & Support Team (B-FAST), donated 300 family tents to Pakistan intended for the temporary shelter of families.

To this day, the needs of the population remain enormous. Both the Pakistani government and international organisations, such as the WHO, have stressed the gravity of the situation. The floods have hampered access to clean potable water, essential for the health of the population, including to prevent epidemics. On 20 September, Pakistan launched a new appeal for water sanitation assistance in the affected areas.

In mid-October, a B-FAST reconnaissance team left for Pakistan to identify where a B-FAST Water Purification module could be deployed. The team identified two locations in Sindh province, Bhiria and Kot Diji, where B-FAST can provide assistance to solve the lack of potable water. A French and a Danish team will also join on site to purify water. The operation is supported by the European Union and is part of the European coordination of crisis response.

The water purification module will allow up to 120 000 litres of water per day to be treated at both sites combined. At the same time, an existing water plant in Kot Diji will be rehabilitated and decontaminated, providing the local population with a long-term solution to the current wave of infections and diseases.

Starting from the deployment of the water purification module and throughout the entire water treatment process, a local team of experts will be involved and trained. That way, local technicians will be able to take over the water treatment module after the B-FAST team’s departure for Belgium. The water purification module will be donated to Pakistan, along with all the products needed to purify water for at least 12 months, providing a sustainable solution to the local population.

The Belgian team of experts from Civil Protection, FPS Public Health, Ministry of Defence and FPS Foreign Affairs left for Pakistan on Monday, in the presence of Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib and Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden.

FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation is in charge of coordinating this B-FAST mission, a mechanism that also involves the prime minister's office, as well as FPS Public Health, Defence, FPS Interior and FPS Strategy and Support (Bosa) for logistical and administrative support.

More information on the B-FAST mechanism can be found at https://b-fast.be/en


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