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World powers rush to offer Turkey, Syria aid over quake

07 February 2023, MVT 16:47
People warm themselves around a bonfire in the rubble in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's southeast on February 7, 2023. - A major 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, killing more than 3,000 people and flattening thousands of buildings as rescuers dug with bare hands for survivors. -- Photo: Adem Altan / AFP
07 February 2023, MVT 16:47

Countries around the world have mobilised rapidly to send aid and rescue workers after a massive earthquake killed more than 5,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

Offers of assistance came from countries across the world. Here are some of the chief pledges of support.

European Union

The European Union has mobilised 27 search and rescue and medical teams from 19 countries to help Turkey, together over 1,150 rescuers and 70 rescue dogs, EU crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic confirmed Tuesday.

United States

President Joe Biden said that US teams were "deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts".

National security spokesman John Kirby said the United States was sending two search-and-rescue teams of 79 people each, while the Pentagon and USAID were coordinating with their Turkish counterparts.


China said the first Chinese rescue teams started work in Turkey on Tuesday and that it was sending $5.9 million in emergency aid to the country, including rescue and medical teams, state media reported.

Rescue workers and volunteers search for survivors in the rubble of a collasped building, in Sanliurfa, Turkey, on February 6, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's south-east. - The combined death toll has risen to over 2,300 for Turkey and Syria after the region's strongest quake in nearly a century. Turkey's emergency services said at least 1,121 people died in the earthquake, with another 783 confirmed fatalities in Syria. -- Photo: Remi Banet / AFP

Deng Boqing, vice director of the China International Development Cooperation Agency, told state broadcaster CCTV that Beijing would also coordinate "urgently needed disaster relief materials" for Syria but did not say how much would be sent.


Foreign minister James Cleverly said the UK was sending a team of 76 search and rescue specialists, equipment and rescue dogs. Britain was also sending an emergency medical team to assess the situation on the groun.


President Vladimir Putin promised to send Russian teams to both countries in telephone calls with Syria's Bashar al-Assad and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The defence ministry said 300 military personnel deployed in Syria were helping with the clear-up effort.

United Nations

"Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance. We count on the international community to help the thousands of families hit by this disaster, many of whom were already in dire need of humanitarian aid in areas where access is a challenge," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.


Two of India's National Disaster Response Force teams comprising 100 personnel with dog squads and equipment were ready to be flown to the affected area, the foreign ministry said. Doctors and paramedics with medicines were also being readied.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "anguished" and "deeply pained" by the deaths in Turkey -- with whom India has frosty relations -- and Syria


Germany -- home to about three million people of Turkish origin -- will "mobilise all the assistance we can activate", Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.

Rescuers search for victims and survivors amidst the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's southeast on February 7, 2023. - A major 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, killing more than 3,000 people and flattening thousands of buildings as rescuers dug with bare hands for survivors. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his war-torn country was "ready to provide the necessary assistance to overcome the consequences of the disaster."


Kyriakos Mitsotakis, prime minister of Turkey's historic rival Greece, whose relations with Ankara have suffered from a spate of border and cultural disputes, pledged to make "every force available" to aid its neighbour.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had approved the sending of aid to Syria -- whose government does not recognise Israel -- after receiving a request through diplomatic channels. A Damascus official denied they had requested help.

The government will also send humanitarian assistance to Turkey, Netanyahu said.

Gulf states

Qatar said it would send 120 rescue workers to Turkey, alongside "a field hospital, relief aid, tents and winter supplies".

The United Arab Emirates pledged assistance worth around $13.6 million to Syria, including search and rescue teams, urgent relief supplies and emergency aid.

Official news agency WAM said the UAE had already dispatched a first plane to southern Turkey, where it is planning to establish a field hospital.


Iran is ready to provide "immediate relief aid to these two friendly nations", President Ebrahim Raisi said, offering condolences on the "heartbreaking incident".


The country sent a 89-member risk-management team, including medics, to Turkey with 17 tonnes of equipment, and another team will go to Syria, civil defence said.


President Kais Saied ordered "humanitarian aid" for both Turkey and Syria, including 14 tonnes of blankets and food, officials said. Tunis also appealed for volunteer medics to be flown out on Tunisian military aircraft.


The government in Japan -- which frequently suffers earthquakes -- is dispatching the Japan Disaster Relief Rescue Team to Turkey.

© Agence France-Presse

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