Belgian field hospital in Kirikhan operational today

The Belgian field hospital created to treat victims of the Turkish earthquakes opens in Kirikhan in southern Turkey today. It includes a day hospital as well as facilities to treat up to 20 patients for longer stays. The medical staff will be able to see 100 patients a day and also provide regular medical treatment to people in the area.

The field hospital is operated by the Belgian B-FAST team and is the result of cooperation between the Belgian foreign, defence, interior and public heath ministries.

B-Fast is the rapid intervention structure of the Belgian government.  It provides emergency aid during disasters outside conflict zones at the request of foreign governments when these are unable to provide adequate aid themselves.

“We have erected tents on a large field.  We’ve guaranteed clean water supplies.  There are generators and electricity.  A kitchen has been built and we are busy with the showers and sanitary facilities” explains Bastiaan Ruys of Belgian civil protection and responsible for the logistic team. 

“The hospital has an operating theatre, an A&E post as well as maternity facilities.  Twenty patients can stay overnight.  There is a day hospital to treat people with minor injuries.  We are located next to a local hospital the infrastructure of which was largely destroyed during the quake”.

“Here we can’t connect to the local electricity network because there are too many outages.  Trucks supply potable water that was purified for us”.

Clean water is essential in the stricken area to prevent outbreaks of disease. “In north western Syria water reservoirs are mainly above ground.  They have been damaged and there is the threat of cholera outbreaks” says Hans Kluge, the Belgian Europe director of the World Health Organisation.

The WHO’s priority is to get more aid to north western Syria.

The Belgian B-FAST team is expected to stay in Kirikhan for at least a month: “The plan is to work in shifts.  After two weeks the medical team will be replaced.  Cooperation with local aid workers will be forged gradually” says Ruys.  

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