Earthquake in Syria and Turkey German aid teams end their

Earthquake in Syria and Turkey: German aid teams end their mission

Status: 02/13/2023 09:27 am

Several German rescue organizations are completing their mission in the Turkish earthquake region. However, more help cannot be ruled out, THW explained. The death toll is over 35,000.

Almost a week after the devastating earthquake in the Turkish-Syrian border area, several German humanitarian organizations ended their rescue mission in Turkey. The Federal Technical Assistance Agency (THW) confirmed that its 50-person team was preparing to return to Germany. The return is scheduled for today.

Helpers from the Overseas Rescue Unit (Seeba) flew to the disaster area on Wednesday night. Other THW missions in Turkey, which involve “other technical skills”, are not ruled out.

The joint team from ISAR Germany and the rescue dog organization BRH will also return to Germany on Monday, as announced by the two non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

NGOs want to stay engaged

“Behind our team is the most extensive international mission in the history of the organizations”, explained the president of BRH, Jürgen Schart. ISAR Germany managing director Michael Lesmeister praised the emergency services for their “excellent work”. Helpers “sometimes worked themselves to exhaustion to save people.”

The two aid organizations said they had been deployed with 42 emergency services and seven dogs in Kirikhan, in the Turkish province of Hatay. Since last Monday, they managed to save four people alive from the rubble. Among them was a 40-year-old woman who was released after more than a hundred hours. However, she later succumbed to her injuries.

Both organizations announced that they would continue their commitment to people in the earthquake region. “Let’s now look at which projects we can help with quickly and sustainably,” explained Lesmeister and Schart.

38 helpers and three rescue dogs

The forces of the aid organization @fire returned to Germany on Sunday. According to the organization, it has been on duty since last Monday with 38 helpers and three rescue dogs in the city of Kahramanmaras. Rescuers managed to pull five people out of the rubble.

Florian Zonker, who jointly led the team, spoke of an “overwhelming synthesis of our commitment”. The biggest challenge for earthquake experts was the 20-hour rescue operation for a mother and her six-year-old daughter.

More than 35,000 dead in Syria and Turkey

The death toll in Turkey and Syria has risen to over 35,000.

According to information from the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 4,500 people died in the rebel areas of northwest Syria and about 1,400 in government-controlled regions. the figures in Damascus. He also said the number is expected to continue to rise.

In Turkey, the death toll stands at 29,605, state news agency Anadolu reported, citing civil protection authority Afad.

Rescue after more than 160 hours

The UN fears the death toll will rise to around 50,000. UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths told Sky News the death toll could “double or more”. However, estimates are difficult.

Despite the advanced time, there are still reports of successful rescues. After 163 hours under the rubble, rescue workers in Hatay province freed a seven-year-old boy and a 62-year-old woman late Sunday night, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported early on Monday. A 45-year-old man who had been buried for 162 hours has been rescued in Kahramanmaras province.

EU wants to deliver tents and blankets

Turkey is getting more help from the European Union. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by telephone that more tents, blankets and heaters would be provided.

Turkey has already taken in 38 rescuers with 1,651 helpers and 106 search dogs through the so-called EU civil protection procedure. In addition, twelve EU countries have already provided 50,000 winter-proof family tents, 100,000 blankets and 50,000 heaters. In addition, there are 500 emergency shelters, 8,000 beds and 2,000 tents mobilized by the Commission.

Warning of escalation of violence

The head of the Kurdish community, Ali Ertan Toprak, warned of the increase in violence. “It worries me more and more that people are attacking each other,” he told the Germany editorial network. “Many cities have not received any help so far. That is why the anger is so great.”

In addition, the first arrest warrants were issued due to the large number of houses destroyed. The accused are held responsible for construction defects that would have favored the collapse of the building, state news agency Anadolu reported, citing prosecutors.

Opposition Criticizes President Erdogan

The opposition blames the government for the botched construction. Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has once again accused President Erdogan, who has been in power for 20 years, of failing to prepare the country for such an earthquake.

He also criticized the fact that the government issued a building amnesty in 2018, whereby illegally erected buildings were later legalized in exchange for a fine. “They turned the houses where people live into cemeteries and took money for it,” said the opposition leader. There is also an election campaign in Turkey at the moment.