Turkey steps up to aid Iraq earthquake victims

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ANKARA

Turkey steps up to aid Iraq earthquake victims

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said a total of 3,000 tents, 3,000 blankets and supplies of food were “immediately” sent by the Turkish Red Crescent to Iraq’s north.

He also added that 4,000 more blankets from Turkey’s southeastern provinces Muş and Diyarbakır were directed to the Habur border gate.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement at offered condolences to Iraq and said Turkey is “ready to help” through the Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) and the Red Crescent.

“Turkey stands ready to provide search and rescue teams & send humanitarian aid for earthquake victims in Iraq. Our thoughts and prayers are with our Iraqi brothers and sisters,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also wrote on Twitter.

Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ told broadcaster 24 TV that a paramedic team and rescue teams would be dispatched to the disaster area “by a military cargo plane in a few hours.”

Another team is en route from the Silopi district of Turkey’s Şırnak province to take tents to the area, Akdağ added.

AFAD’s 30-men rescue team has reached Habur border gate to help quake-victims, the disaster management agency said to Anadolu Agency.

Turkish Health Minister Ahmet Demircan has offered assistance to northern Iraq.

Some 316 members of the National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) and emergency response teams are ready to aid and offer assistance to northern Iraq if a demand comes, Health Minister Ahmet Demircan said.

In September, Turkish airline companies halted flights to northern Iraq, following a referendum for independence held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), but Demircan hinted that the currently suspended flights could be resumed.

“Airports [in Turkey] are [currently] closed to flights [to northern Iraq], but in line with information coming from our Foreign Ministry we have made all kinds of preparation in the event of a demand coming from northern Iraq,” he said.

Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Spokesperson Safeen Dizayee thanked Turkey for offering its support in a tweet on Nov. 13.

“I’d like to thank #Kurdistan Region’s first responders, police and security for making sure everyone is safe during last night’s earthquake. Special thanks to Turkey, Afad and Red Crescent for their quick response & support,” Dizayee said.

Iran was also hit by the quake, and Turkish Health Minister Demircan said it had not yet asked for assistance but Turkey was ready to “do its part.”

The Foreign Ministry also issued a statement on Nov. 13 saying Turkey was ready to help if Iran needed any assistance.

“Due to the Iraq-based violent quake that happened last night [on Nov. 12], it has been with great sadness found out that the Iranian province of Kermnashah, on the border with Iraq, has been severely affected, and there are many fatal incidents and injured,” the ministry stated.

“Our country is ready to offer a hand to Iranian people, with whom we are friends, via the Turkish Red Crescent and AFAD if needed,” it added.

The health minister also said a total of 40 ambulances are ready to help, with 4,200 sickbeds and 217 intensive care units ready in various Turkish hospitals.

Although the earthquake was also felt by several provinces in Turkey’s east and southeast, no casualties were reported, AFAD head Mehmet Güllüoğlu told state-run Anadolu Agency.

The provinces of Diyarbakır, Batman, Mardin, Hakkari, Van, Muş, and Şırnak reportedly felt the temblor.

“We haven’t received any reports about damaged buildings or casualties in Turkey. That’s good news for our country,” Güllüoğlu said, adding that AFAD is in constant communication with the Iraqi authorities.

Turkey, Iraq, Iranü, earthquake, AFAD, search and rescue, aid, Kerem Kınık, Kızılay, Muş



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