Has B-FAST become “B-SLOW”?

The Belgian interior minister Annelies Verlinden (Flemish Christian democrat) has rejected criticism that the Belgian medical urgent intervention team B-FAST will only be operational in Turkey by the end of the week.  Questions have been raised about the speed of the deployment now that there is urgent humanitarian need in the borderlands between Turkey and Syria due to the earthquakes.

Ms Verlinden points to a decision taken by the Belgian government in 2019.  It decided no longer to provide rescue teams as a priority but instead to concentrate of delivering medical teams: “The decision was taken for countries to focus on what they are best at and for Belgium this is medical assistance”.

“Turkey is requesting search and rescue teams.  The request for medical teams hasn’t yet been made”.

Ms Verlinden stressed Belgium wouldn’t hesitate to provide aid for Syria: “As  far as I’m concerned, the political discussion needs to be kept out of the matter.  We should help as many people as possible”.

Top stories