Earthquake rattles Turkey: India to send rescue, medical teams to Ankara


World, Asia

People search for survivors through the rubble in Diyarbakir, on February 6, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's south-east. - At least 284 people died in Turkey and more than 2,300 people were injured in one of Turkey's biggest quakes in at least a century, as search and rescue work continue in several major cities. (Photo: AFP)

NEW DELHI: India on Monday said that it will despatch rescue and medical teams to Turkey following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed over 500 people and toppled buildings in central Turkey and northwest Syria today.

The prime minister's office (PMO) said that a meeting was held and it was decided that the search and rescue teams of NDRF and medical teams along with relief materials would be dispatched immediately in coordination with the Government of the Republic of Turkiye.

Two teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), comprising 100 personnel with specially trained dog squads and necessary equipment, are ready to be flown to the earthquake-hit area for search and rescue operations, the PMO said in a statement.

"Medical teams are also being readied with trained doctors and paramedics with essential medicines. Relief material will be dispatched in coordination with the Turkish government and the Indian Embassy in Ankara and Consulate General office in Istanbul," the PMO said.

P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister held a meeting in South Block to discuss immediate relief measures.

Medical teams are also being readied with trained doctors and paramedics with essential medicines. Relief material will be dispatched in coordination with the Government of Turkey and the Indian Embassy in Ankara and the Consulate General office in Istanbul.

The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, representatives of the Ministries of Home Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), NDRF, Defence forces the external affairs ministry (MEA) and well as the ministries of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and the Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
The epicenter of the earthquake was near the city of Gaziantep in south-central Turkey.

Earlier, Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced a Level 4 alert, which includes a call for international aid.

As per the latest estimates, in Syria, at least 237 people were killed and 639 injured, Syrian state-run news agency SANA reported, citing a Health Ministry official.

One of the largest earthquakes to hit Turkey in more than a century, caused vibrations throughout the area, caused buildings to collapse, and forced people to flee into the streets.

The United States Geological Survey has recorded 24 aftershocks in Turkey. Effects of the earthquake was felt in Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, Iraq and as far away as Romania, Georgia and Egypt, according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre, as cited by the Times of Israel.

Condolences poured in from worldwide after reports of the massive quake hit Turkey claiming numerous lives. Earlier in the day Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter and condoled the loss of life in Turkey and the nearby areas.