Azerbaijan takes the lead in the response of the Caucasus and Central Asia to the Turkish earthquake
Sister Azerbaijan and other countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus have been providing crucial support to Turkey’s ongoing earthquake relief efforts.
They have sent hundreds of rescue personnel and medical personnel, along with essential equipment and supplies.
According to the latest official figures, nearly 19,000 people were killed and more than 66,130 injured after earthquakes measuring 7.7 and 7.6 struck 10 provinces of southern Turkey within a few hours on Monday, affecting more than 13 million people.
More than 113,200 search and rescue teams are engaged in an ongoing search and rescue effort, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).
The disaster and emergency management said more than 5,700 rescuers from other countries were helping in the disaster area, including teams from Central Asian and Caucasian countries.
At least 725 rescue personnel have traveled from Azerbaijan to the Kahramanmaras region of Turkey, along with a batch of relief equipment and supplies.
Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations said in a statement on Thursday that it had rescued at least 44 people, including nine children, and recovered 164 bodies.
Azerbaijani medical staff, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Turkish Army, performed 10 surgeries in the affected areas, examining 98 earthquake victims, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense said in a separate statement.
The ministry also announced that it had set up collection points where military personnel and their families could donate relief items to be sent to Turkey.
Since Monday, Azerbaijan has sent seven planes carrying personnel and humanitarian aid to Turkey, according to the state news agency Azartak.
Twenty truckloads of humanitarian aid were also sent for quake victims on Wednesday, carrying tents, beds, power generators, clothes, tables, chairs, towels and other supplies.
On Friday, eight trucks loaded with humanitarian aid collected by the Azerbaijani people to help the victims of the Kahramanmaraş earthquake left Baku.
NGOs in Azerbaijan have launched aid campaigns to support those affected by the earthquakes, with the “Kardeş Kömeği (Aid)” platform set up by Turkish national organizations to help coordinate efforts.
Turkey’s ambassador to Baku, Cahit Bagci, bid farewell to the eight trucks carrying essential items such as clothes, blankets, non-perishable food and hygiene supplies.
Bagci stressed Azerbaijan’s quick response to the disaster, noting that President Aliyev visited the embassy to offer his condolences.
Aid will continue from Azerbaijan. Bagci said 100 tents capable of holding 30 people will be sent to Turkey.
The Azerbaijani people have shown strong support for the aid campaigns, with the two largest gymnasiums in Baku being designated as fundraisers.
Volunteers packed the materials and loaded them onto trucks, with 20 trucks full of aid collected by the “Turkish Unity and Solidarity Platform” that set off yesterday from Baku.
On Thursday, the Kazakh Ministry of Emergency Situations announced that a second group of rescuers with equipment had traveled to the Gaziantep region in Turkey to participate in search and rescue operations.
Among the rescuers are 15 from Karaganda, and 18 from the Akmola region, who will join the 100 Kazakhs already in the country.
Later in the day, the ministry announced that Kazakh rescuers had found four survivors and pulled 13 bodies from the rubble of four different locations in Gaziantep.
Presidential Press Service said on Wednesday that President Kasymjomart Tokayev instructed the government to allocate $1 million to Turkey for emergency assistance.
Tokayev later visited the Turkish embassy in Astana, where he expressed his condolences and pledged that Kazakhstan would provide “comprehensive assistance to Turkey”.
The Emergencies Ministry said on Thursday that more than 100 Uzbek rescue workers are working in Ovakent, Hatay province.
The ministry said they rescued 13 people from the rubble and recovered the bodies of 38 victims.
She added that another plane loaded with humanitarian aid arrived in Hatay, adding: “Paramedics from the Uzbek Ministry of Defense, medicines, emergency supplies and special equipment were delivered to the disaster area.”
Uzbekistan’s foreign ministry said another 71-member search and rescue team arrived in Gaziantep on Thursday on a plane carrying more humanitarian aid.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited the Turkish Embassy in Tashkent, where he expressed his condolences to the Turkish people and said that Uzbekistan is ready to provide all necessary assistance.
Later in the day, Uzbek Foreign Minister Bakhtiar Saidov visited the Turkish embassy and wrote a message in a book of condolences, the foreign ministry said.
The country’s Emergencies Ministry said Thursday that Kyrgyz rescue workers have recovered 22 bodies in the Kahramanmaras region.
According to the statement, the head of the 63-member Kyrgyz team said that rescuers are constantly working, with psychiatrists and doctors providing psychological and medical assistance to citizens whose relatives have died.
Separately, the State Department said it had evacuated 22 of its citizens from the quake zone in Turkey.
The Kyrgyz presidency said in a statement on Thursday that two planes with tents, shelter supplies, a mobile hospital, 100 rescuers and search dogs will soon be sent to Turkey.
Humanitarian aid also includes medical supplies, clothing and other necessities.
Kyrgyz President Sadir Japarov visited the Turkish Embassy in Bishkek on Thursday to offer his condolences.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the former president of Turkmenistan and the current speaker of the People’s Assembly, visited the Turkish embassy in Ashgabat to offer his condolences, Turkey’s ambassador Togan Ural said on Wednesday.
A team of 50 Tajik rescuers arrived in Turkey’s Kahramanmaras region early Thursday.
“Rescuers have brought with them the necessary rescue equipment designed to conduct search and rescue operations,” said a statement from the Tajikistan Emergency Situations Committee.
This is the first time that rescuers from the committee have traveled abroad to provide assistance and participate in disaster relief efforts, the statement said.
Later in the day, Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda and Foreign Minister Siruj al-Din Muhyiddin visited the Turkish Embassy in Dushanbe, where they signed the embassy’s book of condolences.
A team of 100 rescue workers from Georgia took part in the search and rescue effort in the Adiyaman region of southern Turkey.
The Ministry of Interior said that rescuers pulled out one of the survivors on Wednesday evening, noting that the injured person was then transferred to a medical facility.
The team initially consisted of 60 firefighters and rescuers, but was later augmented with an additional 40 personnel.
Parliament of Georgia will launch a campaign to help earthquake victims in Turkey, according to Parliament Speaker Shalva Babuashvili.
He said late on Wednesday that a special bank account had been opened for the donations, which will be used to purchase necessary relief supplies.