Medical & Health

Scale of disaster in quake-hit Türkiye ‘unbelievable’: Australian rescue team

The scale of the disaster in Türkiye after the twin earthquakes is "unbelievable," said the leader of an Australian rescue team in Hatay, adding that despite the challenging situation, the Turkish people are "very resilient.”

On the situation in 10 earthquake-hit provinces of Türkiye, Grant Rice, the operations officer for the Bravo team, told Anadolu that the situation is “not very good at all. Not very good. The scale of it is just unbelievable. Unbelievable."

Conveying his best wishes to Türkiye for recovery, Rice added: "I think it's going to take some considerable amount of time for them to get over this."

He also said he was impressed by the resilience of the Turkish people.

"In Türkiye, the people that we've encountered are very resilient, very strong, and just how they've overcome this already is, it's a credit to Türkiye – very, very well done."

The Australian disaster assistance response team – part of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group – arrived in Hatay on Monday with a team including 72 professionals, according to the team leader.

"We've only been here obviously for a short time and we're trying to help out as best we can with anyone who needs our effort," Rice said.

He underlined that his team is "able to help out in a lot of different ways" including search and rescue and recovery, and added that they are putting in their best efforts, using all their qualifications in their equipment for the victims.

"Some (international teams) are (leaving) but some are coming in like us,” he said.

“We've only been here two days. So we'll be here for another at least 10 days, and then we go from there.”

He added: “We’ll help out as much as we can within that time. And we will like I said, we're working like disaster assistance, we will help out as much as we can until we leave."

About the collapsed building on Kurtulus Street in the Orhanli neighborhood where his team has been working, he said: "We've had some confirmation of some people that needed our assistance for that site. So we're just going to help the local team with that excavation and try just to assist with what they're doing on this site."

Noting that his team is working with the Turkish disaster response agency AFAD, he said: "This scale of a disaster, it's going to be very hard to make it (coordination) smooth all the time. But yes, we’re in consultation with AFAD, local authorities as well as United Nations."

According to the latest figures, nearly 32,000 people have been killed and over 80,000 others wounded after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes struck 10 southern Turkish provinces within the space of a few hours on Feb. 6, affecting around 13 million people.

However, hope endures as more miraculous survivors emerge from the rubble on the ninth day of the twin earthquakes.

The earthquakes hit Kahramanmaras and nine other provinces, namely Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors.

Source: Anadolu Agency