B-FAST sends aid after severe flooding in Italy
After the severe floods, Italy made an international appeal for emergency assistance through the European Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), which coordinates the response to natural and man-made disasters at EU level. Belgium has offered an 'Extreme High Capacity Pumping' module for this. On May 24, this offer of help was accepted by the Italian government. This Civil Protection module consists of two pump units, with a capacity of 6000 m³/hour. Of the 15 members of the B-FAST team who will travel to Italy with 5 logistics vehicles, 13 are from the Civil Protection (FPS Home Affairs), 1 from the FPS Public Health and 1 from the FPS Foreign Affairs. In addition to pumping out water, this configuration can also pump out mud from tunnels, for example. The B-FAST team is leaving in the night of May 24 to May 25, almost immediately after the acceptance of the emergency aid. The operation will take approximately 10 days, depending on local needs, and is co-financed by the European Union.
Aid in northern Italy is still extremely important. There have already been 15 deaths and the damage to infrastructure is enormous, 26,000 people are still unable to return to their homes, 43 municipalities are still under water. It is Italy's worst flood in the past century. Other European member states have also offered their help. It is important for Belgium to show solidarity. The Italian government has also sent aid in the form of a rescue team during the floods in the Vesdre Valley in 2021.
B-FAST is the structure of the Federal Government that is activated when providing emergency aid abroad and consists of the FPS Home Affairs, the FPS Policy and Support (BOSA), the FPS Public Health, Defence, and the FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.