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Over a dozen EU countries offer search and rescue teams to Turkey after a deadly earthquake

origin 1Civil protection workers and security forces search through the rubble of collapsed buildings in Hama, Syria, February 6, 2023. ©AP Photo/Omar Sanadik

Search and rescue teams from across the European Union were dispatched to Turkey on Monday following a devastating earthquake.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which struck shortly after 04:00 local time near the western Turkish city of Gaziantep, has so far caused the lives of over 1,300 people in the country and in neighboring Syria.

“We stand in full solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria after the deadly earthquake that struck this morning. We mourn with the families of the victims,” ​​said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“Support from Europe is already on the way and we are ready to continue helping in any way we can,” he added.

More than a dozen EU member states have so far responded to Turkey’s request for assistance through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism, the European Commission said in a statement.

Urban search and rescue teams have been mobilized from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, with Hungary, Italy, Spain, Malta and Slovakia offering their assistance.

The EU’s Copernicus satellite system was also activated to provide local authorities with emergency mapping services.

High Representative Josep Borrell and Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said the blockade is Emergency Response Coordination Center it is “in direct contact with the Turkish authorities to coordinate further support if necessary”.

“The EU is also ready to support those affected in Syria, which has also claimed casualties, through its humanitarian assistance programmes.

“Our thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones and the brave first responders working to save lives,” they added.

Wopke Hoekstra, Dutch Foreign Minister, explained on Twitter that the Dutch team includes police and military personnel, rescuers and firefighters.

THE Meanwhile, the French Foreign Ministry said so before 12:00 CET that his rescuers “would leave in the next few hours”.