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UPDATE 3 - 11 European rescue teams arrive in Türkiye following quakes

UPDATE 3 - 11 European rescue teams arrive in Türkiye following quakes
Under EU's emergency response mechanism, which Türkiye is member of, 1,185 people and 79 search dogs sent to help after earthquakes


By Burak Bir, Beyza Binnur Donmez and Agnes Szucs

LONDON/BRUSSELS/ISTANBUL (AA) – Eleven teams under the European Union’s emergency response mechanism have already arrived in Türkiye to assist in rescue efforts following Monday’s devastating earthquakes, with 16 more on their way, the European Commission announced Tuesday.

Nineteen EU member states – Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Greek Cypriot administration, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain – sent rescue teams, as well as associate countries Montenegro, Albania, Serbia and the UK.

“In total, 1,185 rescuers and 79 search dogs have been offered by the European countries. These numbers could rise further,” said a European Commission statement.

Türkiye, though not a member of the bloc, is a member of the EU’s emergency response mechanism.

Later, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Twitter that mine rescuers from Poland are also heading to Türkiye.

"The scale of the tragedy is so great that all help is invaluable," Morawiecki added, without giving the exact number of rescuers on the way.

On Monday, Poland decided to send 76 firefighters and eight search and rescue dogs to support Türkiye. The team has already reached the country with 20 tons of equipment.

Meanwhile, a plane carrying 77 UK search and rescue specialists, equipment and four search dogs has arrived in Gaziantep province to support the earthquake response.

"The UK International Search and Rescue team is made up of firefighters and staff from 14 fire and rescue services from across the country, including experts from England, Scotland and Wales," the British Foreign Office said in a statement Tuesday.

Reminding that Türkiye is observing a seven-day period of national mourning after the deadly quakes, it added that the British Embassy in Ankara and consulates across Türkiye have lowered their flags to half-staff in solidarity with the Turkish government.

"A 77-strong British search and rescue team has arrived in Gaziantep today with specialist equipment and dogs ready to help," British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak later said on Twitter.

In a tweet, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hailed rescue efforts by teams on the ground in quake-hit regions.

"Greeks and Turks are fighting side by side, together to save lives. We are grateful to them for what they are doing," he said, sharing a photo showing Turkish and Greek rescue teams.

Earlier Tuesday, a team from Greece’s Special Disaster Response Unit (EMAK) rescued a 50-year-old man and his 6-year-old daughter from the rubble in Iskenderun district of Hatay province, according to Greek public broadcaster ERT.

Non-member Switzerland also sent aid to Türkiye, with its Foreign Ministry tweeting that rescue specialists from Swiss Rescue took off from Zurich on Monday night and were "about to arrive" to assist rescue workers and "help the injured and missing, as well as their families."

Swiss rescue dog service REDOG said Monday that it was sending 22 rescuers with 14 dogs to Türkiye. In addition, 80 search and rescue personnel including army disaster experts are being sent to Türkiye, according to the government.

At least 5,894 people have been killed and 34,810 injured after two strong earthquakes jolted southern Türkiye on Monday, according to Vice President Fuat Oktay.

The quakes were also felt in several neighboring countries in the region, including Lebanon and Syria.

source: News Feed
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