UPDATE WITH STATEMENT FROM PAKISTAN ARMY, NO CHANGE IN HEADING, SUBHEADING
By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan has dispatched its first batch of rescue teams and relief goods to Türkiye for victims of Monday's massive earthquakes.
A C-130 plane carrying a search and rescue team from the Pakistan Army took off from Chaklala Airbase in Rawalpindi late Monday, said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
A 50-member rescue team along with 25 tons of relief goods left for Türkiye through a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight Tuesday morning, the statement added.
Another C-130 plane carrying seven tons of relief goods including medicines, tents, blankets, and other relief items will be flying to Istanbul from Pakistan’s northeastern city of Lahore later in the day.
From Wednesday onwards, PIA flights will be carrying 15 and seven tons of relief goods to Türkiye and Syria respectively on a daily basis, the statement added.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif along with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will leave for Türkiye on Wednesday to express their solidarity with the earthquake victims, local media reported.
At least 2,921 people were killed and 15,834 others injured in 10 provinces of Türkiye due to two strong earthquakes that jolted the southern part of the country, an official from the nation’s disaster agency said early Tuesday.
Early Monday morning, a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck the Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras province and strongly shook several other provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay and Kilis.
Then at 13.24 p.m. (1024GMT), a 7.6 magnitude quake centered in Kahramanmaras’s Elbistan district struck the region.
- Pakistani army dispatches rescue, medical teams
Meanwhile, Pakistan's Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and the chiefs of the three armed forces expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims of two earthquakes in Türkiye, said a statement issued by the armed forces' media wing Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR).
The army has dispatched two contingents on the instructions of Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir, including an urban search and rescue team made up of rescue experts, sniffer dogs, and search equipment, and a medical team comprised of doctors, nursing staff, and technicians, as well as a 30 bedded mobile hospital, tents, blankets, and other relief items.
The aid contingents were flown to Adana, Türkiye, by a special Pakistan Air Force aircraft on Monday night to begin relief efforts for people affected by earthquakes while working in close coordination with the government in Ankara, armed forces, and the Turkish Embassy in Islamabad, it said.
The contingents will remain until the relief and rescue operations are completed, the statement said, adding that "the people and armed forces of Pakistan stand with our Turk brethren and offer all available support in this hour of need."