Switzerland sends 80 rescue specialists to Turkey after devastating earthquake
The Swiss government has confirmed that rescue specialists, medical teams and members of the army have been sent to Turkey after the region was hit by a deadly earthquake on February 6. A total of 85 personnel, 15 search dogs and 18 tons of equipment are now on the ground to help with relief efforts, and donations from across Swiss cities and cantons have begun to flow in.
Switzerland promises to send aid to Syria and Turkey after earthquake
On Monday, southern Turkey and northern Syria were hit by a deadly magnitude 7,8 earthquake, causing massive devastation. At the time of writing, more than 5.100 people have been confirmed dead and more than 24.100 people have been injured, although this figure is expected to rise as rescue efforts continue.
Soon after the disaster unfolded, nations around the world announced humanitarian action in order to help find survivors and re-establish basic infrastructure in the region. One of those nations, it has now been confirmed, is Switzerland.
Over 80 rescue workers sent from Switzerland to Turkey
Late on Monday night, according to Watson, over 80 rescue personnel from the Swiss Rescue Chain (SDC) - a collection of emergency services and rescue organisations like Rega, the Red Cross and the military - departed from Zurich Airport on a SWISS flight to Turkey. Rescue chain manager Sebastian Eugster told the newspaper that their “purpose will be to pull people out of the rubble and save lives”, noting that the next few hours and days will be vital.
Their role will be to help rescue efforts and provide some of the healthcare services that are needed to treat the injured. Alongside aid workers, engineering and rescue experts have been sent by the Swiss Army, as well as 10 specialists from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Corps. An hour earlier, 15 rescue dogs departed from Zurich on a Rega jet towards the crisis zone.
Currently, all of Switzerland’s aid will be sent to Turkey. However, the SDC confirmed that they were exploring ways to also send aid to Syria, a feat made more challenging by the ongoing civil war in the country.
Swiss politicians send their condolences and donations flow in
Among politicians, Alain Berset, the President of Switzerland, expressed his sympathy for the victims. “Switzerland is ready to provide emergency relief,” he assured. Watson also confirmed that Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis had spoken to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, and had expressed his condolences.
The 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake is the joint-strongest to ever hit the region in modern times and has caused untold devastation. Both countries will likely take years to recover. If you would like to support the efforts to rebuild, alongside other international charities like GlobalGiving and Doctors Without Borders, Swiss Solidarity has launched an appeal for donations to help the people caught up in the disaster.
Image: Shutterstock.com / Martin Lehmann