A group of 76 military personnel, sent by Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense, arrived in Turkey on Monday to engage in search and rescue operations for victims of the terrible earthquake that struck the country, along with neighboring Syria, a week ago.
The soldiers, dispatched from the ministry’s General Department of Logistics and the Collapse Rescue Team of the Army Corps of Engineers, brought along six canines from the Border Guard Command.
The group reached Antakya, a city of the southernmost Turkish province of Hatay, on Monday evening, after they touched down at Istanbul International Airport earlier the same day.
Located about 1,100 kilometers from Istanbul and the Syrian border, Hatay suffered the most damage from the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that shook the country on Monday last week.
On their arrival, the Vietnamese servicemen coordinated with other international forces in searching for and rescuing people trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Antakya, as well as providing medical assistance to earthquake victims.
Talking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, professional military captain Le Trong Nghia said that the group was working in chilly weather, about three degrees Celsius.
Along with these military personnel, 35 metric tons of equipment and supplies have also been sent to Turkey on a separate flight.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Turkey has coordinated with the local Vietnamese community to provide the soldiers with interpreters to ensure their operational efficiency.
Earlier, a 24-member rescue police team from the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security was dispatched to the southeastern Turkish city of Adiyaman on Saturday morning to join search and rescue efforts.
They assisted a Pakistan rescue squad in saving a 14-year-old Turkish teenager from the rubble of a collapsed building on the evening of the same day.
A total of 100 Vietnamese police officers and soldiers have been sent to Turkey on the earthquake relief mission.
Along with Vietnam, around 70 other countries have deployed more than 8,000 rescuers to support quake-devastated Turkey.
The earthquake’s death toll has reached more than 37,000 people in Turkey and Syria, and the death toll is likely to increase sharply, ABC News reported on Tuesday.
In addition, tens of thousands of others were reported injured in both countries.
The February 6 quake was the most devastating disaster to hit Turkey since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
Located in the world’s most active earthquake zones, Turkey has suffered several massive quakes, including a magnitude-7.4 quake that resulted in 17,000 fatalities in 1999 and the most recent one that killed 114 in October last year, the agency said.
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