“Despite the conditions, we do not lose hope”: Israeli rescuers participate in the search operation after the earthquake in Turkey

The Israeli delegation spoke of the delicate situation in Turkey: “Despite the adverse conditions, a miracle is still possible”

Shortly after registering the first earthquake of 7.8 magnitude in Turkeyhe government Israeli launched its operation to collaborate in the rescue efforts. Understanding that it is a humanitarian issue and not politics, the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that 12 hours later the first flight with 150 soldiers to the wreckage area.

Arriving there, the rescuers found a heartbreaking scene. “It was very mobilizing to see how those who were rescued and even outsiders stayed in the area to ask for help for those who were still trapped under the rubble,” he commented at a conference David SarangaIsraeli Foreign Minister, who is in the area coordinating the tasks.

In the midst of a deep darkness – only illuminated by a burning building and bonfires that people used to deal with low temperatures that reach the -4 degrees Celsius – the rescuers began their work in two seven-story buildings, in which there were about 45 apartments in each. With the help of relatives, who together with the team tried to identify the people and listened to their cries for help, after about seven hours of work, they managed to get a 12-year-old boy and a 20-year-old girl to safety, among them others rescued.

With the passing of the hours, the aid in the place increased, both from the Israeli side and from the international community in general and from the local authorities that resort to “heavy equipment” for searches, although the chance of survival is diminishing.

The last official report reported more than 11,700 dead in both disaster zones, of which more than 9,057 were in Turkish territory.

Adverse weather conditions have hampered search and rescue (AP) tasks
Adverse weather conditions have made search and rescue (AP) tasks difficult (Khalil Hamra /)

He wind, the rain and the low temperatures, which barely touch 0 degrees Celsius during the day, have been the main obstacles in the rescue efforts. “The Israeli delegation will stay as long as necessary, which is estimated at two or three weeks”continued Saranga although she pointed out that “generally, after three or four days it is no longer necessary for them to continue with the search work”.

In this sense, Illan Kelman, professor of catastrophes and health at University College London, had earlier pointed out that the first 72 hours are crucial in these events, in which about 90% of the survivors are rescued. In the case of Turkey, they would be fulfilled this Thursday first thing in the morning.

“Despite the adverse conditions, we do not lose hope. A miracle is still possible.”added, however, Saranga while highlighting the work of other countries such as France, Russia and Azerbaijanand the many others that will arrive shortly.

Even in the last few hours, the president of the European UnionUrsula von der Leyen, declared that “we are racing against time to save lives together” so “we will soon provide relief aid together”. “Turkey and Syria can count on the EU”he stressed and mentioned that funds from the international community will be mobilized to support the population since “no one should be left alone when a tragedy like this strikes a town.”

Ursula von der Leyen assured that the EU will assist the victims of the earthquake (REUTERS)
Ursula von der Leyen assured that the EU will assist the victims of the earthquake (REUTERS) (JOHANNA GERON /)

Meanwhile, the ambassador irit lillian explained at the conference that, once the main search tasks have been completed, the focus will be on the field hospitals, which are installed throughout the territory to assist the victims. Although the exact positions of these sites have not been revealed for security reasons, the team assured that they are already carrying out their tasks in the most affected areas and that another group is already traveling to the south of the country where they are expected to that as soon as tomorrow they can be operational.

This Wednesday a new delegation with 230 people -including members of the Ministries of Defense and Health- that integrates the humanitarian aid mission Olive branch and? contribute their “advanced Israeli medical equipment”according to a military spokesman.

A new Israeli rescue team left for Turkey
This Wednesday a new Israeli aid delegation landed in Turkey (Israel Defense Forces)

Added to this, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoganannounced that they have been assigned 77 mobile hospitals in 10 regionswhich include international and national ones, to deal with the crisis.

For her part, Lillian referred to the main current needs and explained that, together with Turkey’s Department of Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD), they are coordinating the delivery, especially of medicine, tents, and items to combat the cold, like blankets and covers.

He also mentioned that, given the structural problem in the area, the water has been contaminated by debris, so it is essential to send purifiers. Added to this, he spoke about the electrical situation, which was completely nullified by the damage, for which it is urgently required Power Generators.

The main needs in the area are water purifiers, elements to cover the cold, medicines and power generators (AP).
The main needs in the area are water purifiers, elements to cover the cold, medicines and power generators (AP) (Khalil Hamra /)

“We don’t have a store, we don’t have a stove, we don’t have anything. Our children are very bad. We are all getting wet in the rain and our children are getting cold. We did not die from hunger or from the earthquake, but we will freeze to death from the cold”declared hours ago Aysan Kurt, 27, a resident of kahramanmarascity visited this Wednesday by Erdogan.

Israel has already sent, through its United Hatzalah emergency service, more than 10 tons of medical equipment, which will continue to increase in the coming days.

A new Israeli rescue team left for Turkey
So far, Israel has already sent more than 10 tons of donations and assistance to Turkey (Israel Defense Forces)

Asked about the contributions that can be made from abroad, Lillian explained that those who want to help can approach the Turkish embassies all over the world, where they are receiving donationsbe it products, equipment or money.

Regarding the situation in Syriawhere the earthquake also wreaked havoc and humanitarian aid is even more limited due to the obstacles imposed by the Bashar al-Assad regimethe Israeli ambassadors limited themselves to ensuring that, once again, Prime Minister Netanyahu has set aside political issues to offer his assistance to innocent lives in the place, although they did not confirm that they are carrying out tasks there at the moment.

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