Following the devastating explosion in Beirut, the Dutch Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR.NL) is en route to Lebanon. The team left for Lebanon from Eindhoven Air Base on Wednesday evening. It is made up of 63 emergency workers and 8 search and rescue dogs, and will help locate people buried under the rubble.
On Tuesday development cooperation minister Sigrid Kaag announced the deployment of the team, as a response to Lebanon’s request for assistance from the international community.
The team is made up of fire fighters and ambulance personnel from Dutch safety regions, police sniffer dogs and handlers, several Defence personnel and a trauma doctor. They will immediately set to work finding people trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. ‘The Netherlands has special expertise in this field,’ said Ms Kaag. ‘And this is something practical that we can do to help a country that has already gone through so much, and now has this to deal with on top of everything else.’
In addition to the deploying the team, the Netherlands is also providing extra financial support to the Lebanese Red Cross. On Wednesday evening Ms Kaag decided to make €1,000,000 available. The Red Cross is not only providing emergency assistance following the explosion, but is also responsible for the fight against coronavirus in Lebanon. In the longer term, the Netherlands has offered to contribute to the rebuilding of the Port of Beirut. ‘The Netherlands is trying to do its part right now, but a lot more will be needed later on,’ said the minister.
The estimated cost of this mission is €1,000,000. The EU is contributing part of the transport costs.
The Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR.NL) is a partnership between various Dutch safety regions, the Ministry of Defence, the Police, Haaglanden Medical Centre and the Institute for Safety (Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid, IFV)
The decision to deploy the team was made by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in close cooperation with the USAR.NL National Commander and the Ministry of Justice and Security.
More information is available on www.usar.nl.