Rijnmonders cancel vacation to help in Beirut


The Urban Search and Rescue team (USAR), which will help find survivors in Beirut, left Wednesday evening from Eindhoven Airport. Most rescue workers come from the Rijnmond region. The team is led by Arjen Littooij, general manager of the Rotterdam-Rijnmond safety region.

The USAR team is comprised of 64 firefighters, officers, doctors, and military personnel. Also 8 dogs help. In addition to saving people, they will focus on providing help. “There are many injured, there is a lot of suffering and we as the Netherlands want to offer our help in this,” says Arjen Littooij.

As soon as the team lands in Beirut, a coordination cell will be established, Littooij explains. That is a group of people who work with the local authorities. Rescuers will then be deployed where it is most needed. People will be searched 24 hours a day for ten days.

Returned from vacation

Rescue workers from the USAR team were called up at seven on Wednesday morning. Littooij says it is fantastic that the team was filled in no time. “In the middle of the holiday and in a period when a lot is happening! People have come back from holiday or have canceled their holiday for it.” According to Littooij, a motivated team is ready to show the Netherlands from its best side, “but above all to help the people there.”

Crown ramp

Despite the fact that the rescue workers are well trained and trained, there is still a healthy tension, says Littooij. “Certainly at this time, in a country that has also been affected by corona, there is also uncertainty. Is that going well? Are we not getting infected? We have added an extra protocol to ensure that people can also work within those rules. ”

The team returns home after ten days in Lebanon because the chance that survivors will be found is slim. The USAR team was previously deployed in Nepal, Haiti and Sint Maarten, among others.


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