By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The US is sending two urban search and rescue teams to Türkiye to assist with ongoing recovery efforts, the White House announced on Monday following a series of devastating earthquakes in the region.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the US is "in the process of deploying" the 79-person teams in addition to personnel already on the ground "to support Turkish search and rescue efforts, and to help address the needs of all those who have been hurt or displaced by the earthquake."
"USAID and the Pentagon are also now coordinating with their Turkish counterparts on additional assistance. And of course, US-supported humanitarian partners are going to be responding to the destruction inside Syria," he told reporters, referring to the US's foreign aid agency.
The announcement comes after US President Joe Biden earlier on Monday said he directed his administration "to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkiye and provide any and all needed assistance."
At least 1,650 people were killed and 11,119 others injured in 10 provinces when two strong earthquakes jolted southern Türkiye on Monday, according to official figures.
Early Monday morning, a 7.7 earthquake jolted Kahramanmaras and strongly shook several neighboring provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis.
Later, at 13.24 p.m. (1024GMT), a 7.6 magnitude quake also centered in Kahramanmaras struck the region.