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In aftermath of quakes, Portuguese rescue team felt as one with Turkish people

Portugal's rescue team felt as one with Turkish people in the aftermath of the twin earthquakes which struck 10 provinces in southern Türkiye.

Carlos Herrera, the commander of a Portuguese private rescue brigade Search and Rescue squad, spoke to Anadolu at the airport in Türkiye’s Hatay province before boarding a flight to his country with eight team members after completing their mission in the earthquake zone.

"Great empathy with the Turkish people, because it’s a very complicated situation that the Turkish people are going through," Herrera said. "It’s a catastrophic situation and at the same time that we feel sad, we also feel fulfilled and happy to be here giving everything to be able to rescue people alive."

Stating that their search and rescue dogs sensed signs of life on multiple occasions, he said: "The first time was a baby and we had information from the others."

His team located the baby and informed the Turkish disaster agency about the situation.

"Later we received information that they rescued the baby alive," he said. "And we were also present at several rescues with people alive around the last few days."

Herrera said his rescue team also includes Spanish firefighters from the Protection Unit of Seville, and a technician from Mayday Portugal.

At least 35,418 people were killed by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 tremors last week were centered in Kahramanmaras and struck nine other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa. More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors that struck Türkiye in the space of less than 10 hours.

Source: Anadolu Agency