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Published On: Mon, Nov 13th, 2017

Turkey steps up earthquake aid to Iraq, offers help to Iran

nsnbc : Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said a total of 3,000 tents, 3,000 blankets and supplies of food were “immediately” sent by the Turkish Red Crescent to Iraq’s north following the devastating magnitude 7.3 earthquake on the border between Iraq and Iran. Turkey also offered to help Tehran if needed.

Turkey_Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) and the Red Crescent_Nov 2017Bozdag said that 4,000 more blankets from Turkey’s southeastern provinces Muş and Diyarbakır were directed to the Habur border gate between Turkey and Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region (KAR). The Foreign Ministry issued a statement at offered condolences to Iraq and said Turkey is “ready to help” through the Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) and the Red Crescent.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoglu used his Twitter account to say: “Turkey stands ready to provide search and rescue teams & send humanitarian aid for earthquake victims in Iraq. Our thoughts and prayers are with our Iraqi brothers and sisters.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag told broadcaster 24 TV that a paramedic team and rescue teams would be dispatched to the disaster area “by a military cargo plane in a few hours.” Another team is en route from the Silopi district of Turkey’s Şırnak province to take tents to the area, Akdag added.

The AFAD’s 30-men rescue team has reportedly reached the Habur border gate to help quake-victims. The deployment of search and rescue teams in a coordinated manner and their work in the critical 24 – 72 hours is what saves most lives after major disasters like the quake that struck Sunday evening. As of Monday morning the death toll was reported as 355 while over 6,000 were injured – and with the death toll rising by over 100, and the number of injured with thousands while nsnbc wrote an initial report.

The number of fatalities and the number of injured is expected to rise over the coming hours and days.

The number of fatalities and the number of injured is expected to rise over the coming hours and days.

Turkish Health Minister Ahmet Demircan has also offered assistance to northern Iraq. Some 316 members of the National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) and emergency response teams are ready to aid and offer assistance to northern Iraq if a demand comes, Health Minister Ahmet Demircan said.

In September, Turkish airline companies halted flights to northern Iraq, following a referendum for independence held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), but Demircan hinted that the currently suspended flights could be resumed. “Airports [in Turkey] are [currently] closed to flights [to northern Iraq], but in line with information coming from our Foreign Ministry we have made all kinds of preparation in the event of a demand coming from northern Iraq,” he said.

Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Spokesperson Safeen Dizayee thanked Turkey for offering its support in a tweet on November 13. “I’d like to thank Kurdistan Region’s first responders, police and security for making sure everyone is safe during last night’s earthquake. Special thanks to Turkey, Afad and Red Crescent for their quick response & support,” Dizayee said.

Iran was also hit by the quake, and Turkish Health Minister Demircan said it had not yet asked for assistance but Turkey was ready to “do its part.” The jolts could be felt in nealy half of the country although the shocks were strongest in the heavily Kurdish-poulated provinces of Kermanshah and Illam. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also issued a statement on November 13 saying Turkey was ready to help if Iran needed any assistance.

Collapsed building in Sulaymaniya in Iraq's Kurdistan Autonomous Region. Aftershocks make it extremely dangerous for search and rescue workers to enter damaged structures.

Collapsed building in Sulaymaniya in Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region. Aftershocks make it extremely dangerous for search and rescue workers to enter damaged structures.

“Due to the Iraq-based violent quake that happened last night [on Nov. 12], it has been with great sadness found out that the Iranian province of Kermnashah, on the border with Iraq, has been severely affected, and there are many fatal incidents and injured,” the ministry stated. “Our country is ready to offer a hand to Iranian people, with whom we are friends, via the Turkish Red Crescent and AFAD if needed,” it added.

The health minister also said a total of 40 ambulances are ready to help, with 4,200 sickbeds and 217 intensive care units ready in various Turkish hospitals. The Turkish provinces of Diyarbakır, Batman, Mardin, Hakkari, Van, Muş, and Şırnak also felt the tremors which also could be registered as far away as in Azerbaijan, Kuwait and Qatar.

“We haven’t received any reports about damaged buildings or casualties in Turkey. That’s good news for our country,” Güllüoglu said, adding that AFAD is in constant communication with the Iraqi authorities.

F/AK – nsnbc 13.11.2017

Related news report:

Massive 7.3 earthquake on Iran – Iraq border killed at least 355, thousands injured

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