UPDATES WITH CASUALTY FIGURES, STATEMENTS OF JAPANESE PREMIER, INDONESIAN PRESIDENT, TAIWAN'S INTERIOR MINISTER; CHANGES DECK
Islamuddin Sajid and Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA/ISTANBUL (AA) – South Korea announced on Tuesday that it would send around 60 members of an international rescue team and emergency medical supplies to Türkiye at the earliest.
President Yoon Suk Yeol has directed that rescue personnel and emergency medical supplies be immediately dispatched by military aircraft to southern Türkiye, which has been devastated by two powerful earthquakes, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing Yoon's press secretary Kim Eun-hye statement.
"President Yoon Suk Yeol this morning ordered the dispatch of rescue personnel using military aircraft to assist Türkiye with the damage from the earthquake and to swiftly move to send emergency medicine and medical supplies," Kim said.
Kim recalled Ankara's assistance to his country during the 1950 war, quoting Yoon, who described Türkiye as a "brother nation that immediately sent troops without hesitating following the Communist invasion in 1950."
"President Yoon also ordered relevant ministries to work together around the Foreign Ministry to actively come up with assistance measures in the event that Türkiye requires additional assistance," the presidential office said.
Yoon also expressed his condolences to the people of Türkiye and Syria following the massive earthquakes on Monday.
"My heart goes out to the people of Türkiye and Syria during this difficult time. Korea sends our deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. We stand ready to assist Türkiye, a brotherhood forged in blood during the Korean War, in any way possible," he tweeted.
At least 3,381 people were killed and 20,426 others injured in 10 provinces of Türkiye due to two strong earthquakes that jolted the southern parts of the country, an official from the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said on Tuesday morning.
Early Monday morning, a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck 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’ Elbistan district struck the region.
Türkiye has issued a level-4 alarm, which includes a call for international aid, the AFAD said.
- ‘Japan will stand reliably alongside the Turkish people’
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed deep grief and sadness over the loss of life and injuries due to the earthquakes in southern Türkiye.
“On behalf of the government of Japan and the Japanese people, I express my heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their lives and extend my sympathies to all who have been affected by this disaster. I pray for the swift recovery of all those affected,” Kishida said in a condolence message to Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late Monday.
He recalled how, in the past, Japan had suffered serious damage from earthquakes and natural disasters, and how the two countries “provided support for each other.”
“Japan will stand reliably alongside the Turkish people as Türkiye works to overcome this difficult time. Japan is ready to provide to the greatest degree possible the support Türkiye requires, taking into consideration the needs in the disaster areas,” he said.
A team of 18 personnel from Japan landed in Istanbul on Tuesday morning to join rescue and relief operations.
Separately, Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his deepest condolences to the people of Syria and Türkiye in the aftermath of the earthquakes.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims. Indonesia stands in solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria,” he wrote on Twitter.
- ‘Taiwan’s turn to help Türkiye’
Taiwan's interior minister recalled Türkiye's help and support to the country nearly 24 years ago, saying "it's Taiwan's turn to help now."
“Türkiye was one of the first countries to dispatch a search and rescue team to Taiwan in 1999, when it was devastated by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake that left over 2,000 people dead,” Lin Yu-chang said.
“It's Taiwan's turn to help now that Turkey has been hit by a calamity,” Focus Taiwan news website quoted Lin as saying.
Taiwan has dispatched a rescue and relief operations team, and another will leave for Türkiye on Tuesday.
The first team of 40 personnel and three search and rescue dogs has already left for Türkiye on Monday, while second team of 90 personnel with two sniffer dogs is scheduled to depart on Tuesday.