Typhoon in the Philippines

The Philippines
On the 8 and 9 November a category 5 typhoon struck the Philippines. Wind speeds of up to 300 km/hour have made serious damage and caused many fatalities.

The Philippine government issued a request for international assistance shortly after the sheer size of the damage became clear. On the 10th of November, the B-FAST Coordination Council decided to send out a team of 37 members to the disaster zone. Two modules were deployed, a field hospital and a water purification system. All together, the B-FAST operation lasted for 13 days. 

On the 15th of November, the team started to operate the field hospital and water purification system in the city of Palo, a few kilometers to the south of Tacloban. The base of operations was assigned by the Philippine government, in accordance with the EU Civil Protection team, that is coordinating the relief teams from Europe. B-FAST jointly cooperated with the German ISAR team and for a while the hospital was the only functioning utility in the province of Tacloban. 

On a daily basis, 200 - 250 patients were treated and many surgical operations were conducted in the Belgian field hospital. All in all, more than 1.300 persons received medical care. The water purification produced up to 4.000 liters an hour. 

The European Commissioner for International Assistance and Crisis Response Ms. Kristalina Georgieva brought a visit to the B-FAST site on the 16th of November, as the team was the first European team that could start its relief efforts on the ground. 

On the 22nd of November the Belgian field hospital was handed over to the German NGO Arbeiter Samariter Bund and the water purification system was donated to the Philippine government. Until today, both the field hospital and the water purification system are still operational. 

The B-FAST team returned to Belgium on the 23rd of November after a succesful operation and was welcomed by the competent Ministers and the Royal Palace.