“We need better preparations for extreme weather events”

Belgian home minister Verlinden (Flemish Christian democrat) has told a news conference that the reform of the civil protection service decided by the last Belgian government needs to be revisited.  

Earlier the Walloon prime minister Elio Di Rupo (Francophone socialist) spoke of the long wait for equipment that the emergency services encountered during the operation to deal with the floods.  He blamed the closure of civil protection bases.

The home minister explained that she had asked a university to look at the role entrusted to the civil protection service as a specialised second line aid provider given the reform of the fire service.

Ms Verlinden has also promised an evaluation of the entire aid effort and plans to step up preparations for future extreme weather events: “The deployment of staff and equipment by the emergency services, evacuations, supplies of electricity, water and telecommunications, European aid and coordination efforts in such events all need to be done in a better way”.

A commission to learn from these events will be set up.

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