Janez Lenarcic, the European Commissioner for Crisis Management, announced on Twitter yesterday that almost 1,200 emergency personnel were being dispatched to Turkey in a coordinated effort by the European Union and partner countries. Reporting by Aljazeera, Reuters and the Associated Press shows that efforts to send rescue teams, medical staff and other emergency personnel by non-EU countries even surpassed this effort, adding up to approximately 1,400 persons as of early Wednesday morning.
After a series of devastating earthquakes shook Central and Eastern Turkey as well as the Turkish-Syrian border region Monday and Tuesday – causing building collapses that trapped many victims – both countries are in dire need of immediate international help. While news wire reports indicate that more than 40 countries and territories have sent or were preparing to send teams to Turkey, the same was just known of three countries and territories concerning Syria: Russia, Algeria and Palestine. Additional personnel could be sent to the war-torn country through the EU and the UN, according to reports. While the majority of the destruction and the victims of the earthquakes are located in Turkey, the humanitarian situation in Syria was already strained before the disaster, diminishing the country’s ability to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake effectively.
Many of the government and private teams assisting Turkey are bringing trained search and rescue canines with them. According to the reports, Swiss rescue service Redog was sending as may as 14 dogs, with other animal squads coming from Croatia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, India, the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, South Korea and the United States. Many countries have also sent or pledged donations of medical equipment, emergency supplies or financial aid.