The Dutch contribution to the flood disaster in Eastern Europe
Because of the Netherlands' historic affinity with battles against water, various organisations asked the country for help. In response, the Royal Netherlands Air Force took 40 tons of towels, food, blankets, baby food, tents, water purification tablets and a complete field kitchen to the Czech Republic on 15 July at the request of the Salvation Army.
The next day, a KDC-10 flew the same quantity of relief supplies to the Hungarian capital of Budapest. On 21 July, a Hercules transported 50 emergency drinking water units to Poland.
Water pumps to Poland
The Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management also provided 20 heavy-duty drainage pumps, water purification units and several experts from the Public Works and Water Management Department. The equipment was taken to Poland by a specially formed unit from the Royal Netherlands Army’s 230 Medium-heavy Transport Company.
The ‘Poland Express’, as it was known, consisted of 82 army personnel and 2 from the Royal Marechaussee and was under the command of Major R.J.T.M. Wildenberg. The mission constituted a unique alliance between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. The latter was in charge of the operation.
Transport to the Czech Republic
In the same period, 8 soldiers from 160 Heavy Transport Company performed a similar transport task, this time to the Czech Republic. Unlike the Poland Express, however, the soldiers of the Czech Express, which was under the command of Second Lieutenant M.C.A. Hendriks, only had to transport the equipment and did not have to operate the pumps themselves in the disaster area.