PBBM dispatches rescue and relief contingent to Turkey after big quake

A man searches collapsed buildings in Diyarbakir, southern Turkey, early Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. A powerful earthquake has caused significant damage in southeast Turkey and Syria and many casualties are feared. Damage was reported across several Turkish provinces, and rescue teams were being sent from around the country. (Depo Photos via AP)

A Philippine contingent will be deployed this week to Turkey to assist in the rescue operations and delivery of relief goods in the transcontinental country after it was hit by a massive Magnitude 7.8 earthquake last Monday.

On the sidelines of the 2023 Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Tax Campaign kickoff on Tuesday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said he is coordinating with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to organize the rescue and relief contingent.

He said the team would be composed of 85 personnel, including engineers, to help in building inspection and health-care workers to treat quake victims.

The contingent will also be bringing blankets and winter clothes.

Its members will be coming from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Army, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and MMDA, among others.

“I already have the assurance also of the Turkish [Airlines] that they will be the ones to bring our people and our equipment and our goods…I suppose, to Ankara first and then to be distributed properly in Turkey,” the President said.

“We are looking to have our group leave by tomorrow [Wednesday, February 8] night,” he added.

The Chief Executive earlier committed the country will be sending assistance to help in quake-affected areas.

Reports said more than 4,800 people perished and another 15,000 were injured after the city of Gaziantep was rocked by a 7.8 magnitude tremor near the Turkey-Syria border on Monday.

Turkey was hit by a second earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 in its Kahramanmaras province.

Freezing conditions in Turkey are currently hampering rescue operations in the province.


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