Israel sending immediate aid to Turkey following devastating earthquake

Civil defense workers and security forces search through the wreckage of collapsed buildings in Hama, Syria, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP/Omar Sanadik)

Search and rescue teams along with medical assistance are being readied following a request by Turkish authorities.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel is preparing aid for Turkey following the massive earthquake that struck the country overnight Sunday, following requests for help from Ankara, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.

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“At the request of the Turkish government, I have instructed all authorities to make immediate preparations to provide medical, and search-and-rescue assistance,” he announced. “The foreign and defense ministers have already been in contact with their counterparts and we will – in the coming hours – agree on the dispatching of a delegation as soon as possible.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that his special teams, which are attached to the Home Front Command, are being mobilized to help.

“The security forces are ready to offer any assistance that may be required,” he said. “The security system has gained a lot of experience over the years in dealing with disaster areas and the mission of saving lives.”

In conversation with his counterpart, Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen offered to dispatch a significant number of search and rescue personnel. Çavusoglu expressed his appreciation for Israel’s willingness to stand by Turkey’s side in its hour of need.

Medical intervention is also being offered by private Israeli organizations.

United Hatzalah of Israel, Israel’s national volunteer EMS organization, is already preparing to send a relief mission.

“During the early hours of the morning, I notified the Foreign Minister, the Defense Minister, the Health Minister, and the head of the National Security Council (NSC) that we are standing at the ready to send a relief mission consisting of doctors, paramedics, EMTs, members of the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit, and members of the Search and Rescue Units, with medical supplies and humanitarian aid in order to provide assistance to the thousands of people in need in Turkey,”  said United Hatzalah CEO Eli Pollack.

Israel’s version of the Red Cross, Magen David Adom, also announced that it had approached the Turkish Red Crescent and the International Federation of the Red Crescent in Europe, offering humanitarian and medical aid.

“In my name and in the name of the people of Israel, I express my deep sorrow for the terrible tragedy that befell Turkey and the region following the earthquake last night,” President Isaac Herzog stated.

“My condolences to the president and the people of Turkey for the enormous destruction and loss of life. The State of Israel through its authorized bodies is always ready to help in any possible way. Our hearts go out to the grieving families and the Turkish nation at this difficult moment,” he added.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also said that Israel will provide aid to Syria, after a request was made by a “diplomatic official.”

According to a report by Channel 13, Moscow sent the request to Israel.

The earthquake, which struck at 3:17 a.m. in the Kahramanmaras province near the Syrian border, measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and was felt as far away as Romania. There were also several strong aftershocks. The Turkish death count has already reached over 1,000, with thousands more injured. An unknown number of people are still buried under the rubble.

In a televised speech, President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said that 2,400 people have been successfully pulled from the wreckage.

The weather has also been noted as a danger, as a cold front has moved in, bringing rain and snow.

Syrian state television reported at least 386 dead on its side of the border due to the earthquake, with the “White Helmets” group stating that 147 were dead in opposition-held territory.

Source: World Israel News


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