UAE leads relief efforts in Turkey, Syria

The death toll has increased to more than 4,300 as rescuers are racing against time to find more survivors amid heavy rain and snow in the two neighbouring nations…reports Asian Lite News

President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has directed the establishment of a field hospital and the dispatch of a search and rescue team for people affected by the earthquake in the Republic of Turkey.

The President also directed the dispatch of a search and rescue team and the provision of urgent relief supplies and emergency aid to those affected by the earthquake in the Syrian Arab Republic to help families in the hardest-hit areas.

The death toll has increased to more than 4,300 as rescuers are racing against time to find more survivors amid heavy rain and snow in the two neighbouring nations.

The UAE reiterated its solidarity with Turkey and Syria over the victims of the massive earthquake that struck southern Turkey and caused many casualties. The UAE also expressed its sincere condolences to the two countries and their peoples, as well as to the families of victims of this disaster and its wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured.

The Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence announced the launch of “Gallant Knight / 2” operation to provide assistance for the peoples of Syria and Turkey.

The operation includes the participation of the Armed Forces, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation; and the Emirates Red Crescent.

President Sheikh Mohamed made two separate phone calls to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkiye.

In these calls, he expressed his heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the two presidents, their people, and the families of those affected by the devastating earthquake that hit the two countries. He also offered his support and solidarity, wishing for a speedy recovery for those who were injured.

Dh50mn aid to Syria

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, directed the dispatch of urgent humanitarian aid worth AED50 million to the Syrian people, in order to provide relief to those affected by the most devastating earthquake that the country has witnessed in decades.

Sheikh Mohammed affirmed that the UAE is ready to support the Syrian brothers in facing this great calamity that befell them, indicating that the UAE will also stand by the Syrian people, and will continue to extend a helping hand to them until they overcome this ordeal, as an expression of its noble human values.

The aid will be delivered in the form of ration parcels through the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives to the most affected groups in brotherly Syria, many of whose regions were affected at dawn on Monday by the repercussions of the earthquake that claimed the lives of dozens of the Syrian people.

Death toll rising

As of Tuesday morning, the toll in Turkey stood at 2,921, while in Syria it increased to 1,451, the BBC reported.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), there were at least 15,834 injured persons, while 7,840 people were pulled alive.

The AFAD also noted that at least 5,606 buildings destroyed, adding that a total of 14,720 people are currently providing assistance in the disaster zone, including military personnel, reports Xinhua news agency.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the toll may rise dramatically as search and rescue operations are still continuing in both the countries, the BBC reported.

A host of countries have sent rescue workers to help the stricken region and have offered support.

US President Joe Biden spoke earlier to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reaffirming “the readiness of the United States to provide any and all needed assistance”.

In a statement, the White House said Biden “noted that US teams are deploying quickly to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and co-ordinate other assistance that may be required by people affected by the earthquakes, including health services or basic relief items”.

India on Monday announced that two teams of NDRF comprising 100 personnel with specially trained dog squads and necessary equipment were ready to be flown to the affected regions.

Medical teams were also being readied with trained doctors and paramedics with essential medicines. Relief material would be dispatched in coordination with the Government of Republic of Turkey and Indian Embassy in Ankara and Consulate General office in Istanbul.

On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government would provide an “initial” $10 million in aid, to go to humanitarian groups, while his New Zealand counterpart Chris Hipkins also announced $1.5 million in aid.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol issued an order to send rescuers and emergency medical items to Turkey.

The European Union is sending search and rescue teams to Turkey, while rescuers from the Netherlands and Romania are already on their way.

The UK has said it will send 76 specialists, equipment and rescue dogs. France, Germany, and Israel have also pledged to help.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered help to both Turkey and Syria, as has Iran.

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