Earthquake: M’sian rescue team unable to enter ground zero due to logistics problem

GAZIANTEP (Turkiye): Malaysia’s second rescue team (MAS-10), which arrived in Gaziantep yesterday evening (February 9), is unable to enter ground zero due to logistical issues.

Although the team arrived at 5.50pm (local time) yesterday, the equipment for the SAR operation and the personal needs of the team members have not fully arrived at Gaziantep Airport.

MAS-10 team leader, Abdul Manaf Che Isa, stated that the problem may have arisen due to the arrival of many SAR agencies from foreign countries in Turkiye on the same day.

“But Alhamdulillah as of 9.40 tonight (Gaziantep local time) 70 per cent of our equipment has arrived, including two tracker dogs, Denti and Frankie, who are in good condition,” he told Bernama and RTM.

Abdul Manaf said the team will move to Nurdag, located about 45 kilometers west of Gaziantep, which has been designated by the local disaster relief agency, once they have obtained all the necessary items.

MAS-10, which is under the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma), consists of 20 members of the Special Malaysia Search and Rescue Team (Smart), 30 members of the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department, and 20 officers from the Civil Defence Force (APM).

The team departed from Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday night and arrived in Istanbul at 6am yesterday. Two media personnel from the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) and one cameraman from Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) joined the team as well.

Several foreign SAR agencies from China, Tajikistan, and Russia have also arrived at Gaziantep Airport.

A strong earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, which struck southern Turkiye and northwestern Syria on Monday (Feb 6), has claimed thousands of lives.

The effects of the earthquake were also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon. Turkiye declared a three-month state of emergency in ten provinces – Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa – to ensure the smooth running of search and rescue missions. — BERNAMA

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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