World powers rush to offer Turkey, Syria aid over quake

PARIS: International offers to help Turkey and Syria with rescue efforts poured in on Monday after a massive earthquake killed around 1,800 people and wreaked devastation.

European Union

The European Union has mobilised search and rescue teams for Turkey after the stricken country requested EU assistance. Ten urban search and rescue teams from various member states will support first responders on the ground, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and EU crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said. The EU’s Copernicus satellite system has also been activated to provide emergency mapping services, it added. The EU is also ready to support those affected in Syria, it said.


UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi voiced “solidarity” with those affected in both countries, saying the UN agency was “ready to help provide urgent relief to the survivors through our field teams wherever possible”.


India said it would immediately send rescue and medical teams as well as relief equipment to Turkey. Two National Disaster Response Force teams comprising 100 personnel with dog squads and equipment were ready to be flown to the affected area, the foreign ministry said. Teams of trained doctors and paramedics with medicines were also being readied. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “anguished” and “deeply pained” by the deaths in Turkey-with whom India has frosty relations-and Syria.


Germany-home to about three million people of Turkish origin-will “mobilise all the assistance we can activate”, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said, after speaking with the Turkish ambassador to Berlin. Germany’s Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) “can set up camps to provide shelter as well as water treatment units”, she said. The THW agency is also preparing generators, tents and blankets. A foreign ministry spokeswoman said the German government would hold a crisis meeting later Monday with the relevant ministries to organise an aid package. Berlin will also increase its assistance to charities such as Malteser International providing humanitarian aid in northwest Syria by one million euros ($1.1 million), she said.


President Vladimir Putin sent messages to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, conveying Russia’s condolences and offering aid. “We hope for a speedy recovery for all the injured and are ready to provide the assistance needed to overcome the impact of this natural disaster,” Putin told Assad.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that his war-torn country was “ready to provide the necessary assistance to overcome the consequences of the disaster.” The message was reiterated by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who said Ukraine was “deeply saddened by the loss of life and damage” wreaked by the earthquake.


Kyriakos Mitsotakis, prime minister of Turkey’s historic rival Greece, whose relations with Ankara have suffered from a spate of border and cultural disputes, pledged to make “every force available” to aid its neighbour. Mitsotakis said Ankara had already approved the dispatch of a Greek emergency rescue unit, and Athens was ready to send “additional equipment, medical supplies, blankets, tents” depending on further Turkish requests.


NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg voiced “full solidarity” with ally Turkey, saying he was in touch with Turkey’s top leadership and “NATO allies are mobilising support now”.


Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden, whose bid to join NATO is meeting Turkish resistance, tweeted: “Saddened about the loss of lives in Türkiye and Syria following the major earthquake. Our thoughts go to the victims and their loved ones.” He sent his “deepest condolences” to President Erdogan. “We stand ready to offer our support.”


President Emmanuel Macron said France stood ready to provide emergency aid to Turkey and Syria. “Our thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he tweeted.

Britain “The UK stands ready to help in whatever way we can,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted saying his thoughts were with the people of Turkey and Syria. Britain was sending 76 search-and-rescue specialists to Turkey, a minister added.


Iran is ready to provide “immediate relief aid to these two friendly nations”, President Ebrahim Raisi said, offering condolences on the “heartbreaking incident”. – AFP

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