A 101-member National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescuers, including five women personnel and a four-member canine squad, will help earthquake-hit Turkey from Tuesday, with a 51-member team landing earlier today at Adana Airport of quake-battered country and the second team of another 50-members on way, said NDRF Director General Atul Karwal.
Led by Commanding Officer Gurminder Singh of NDRF’s 2nd Battalion in Kolkata, the whole contingent of 101 rescuers will start their operations in a coordinated way as per directions of the Indian Embassy in Turkey and local authorities. A massive earthquake, 7.8 magnitudes on Richter Scale, ripped through Turkey and Syria on February 6, followed by a series of high magnitute tremors causing houses and high rises reducing to rubble, leaving over 4,000 people dead and rendering scores of men, women and children homeless.
Speaking to ANI, NDRF Director General Atul Karwal said soon after the earthquake, “Government of India decided to render all possible help (to Turkey) in this time of crisis.”
The 1988-batch Gujarat cadre officer said the NDRF was asked to deploy two teams.
“One team with 51 rescuers, including five lady personnel, and a canine squad left for Turkey at 3 am today morning in an Indian Air Force aircraft. So, after a flight of seven and a half hours, they landed at about 10.30 am at Adana airport in Turkey close to the site of the disaster,” Karwal said.
“The second team will depart at 11 am again by an Indian Air Force aircraft.”
Karwal said “the NDRF is also sending some vehicles with both the teams because we are told that vehicle providing of transportation by the local authorities might be an issue. So we are sending them with vehicles.”
Asked if the 101-member crew has any paramedics or health experts, the NDRF chief said, “There is a doctor who is accompanying for the care of the team and the rescuers, and the victims we are going to assist.”
“Aside from that, all rescuers of NDRF have the medical first responder training to provide first aid to all the victims that we rescued before they are sent to the hospital.”
In anticipation of such deployment, Karwal further said, the NDRF had kept two teams ready in two Battalions, the 8th battalion in Ghaziabad and 2nd Battalion in Kolkata”.
“The Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion Kolkata Gurminder Singh is leading the whole contingent. So, these two Battalions were ready with two teams and the equipment so that we could mobilise them at a very short notice. And yesterday, when this tragedy struck, then it was put in motion and by early morning the first team had left,” the NDRF DG said.
Karwal said, “We are in regular contact with the Indian Embassy in Turkey, and they have deployed a liaison officer with English-speaking abilities to us to live with the local authorities”.
“So, now it will be up to the local authorities to decide where they will deploy us. Depending on the crisis and they will be most useful,” the NDRF DG said, adding “as I am informed the first deployment site is close to the Adana airport and they will tell us where to start operating as soon as we reach there.”
Karwal also said, “we are taking some information regarding the kinds of buildings which are there in that area”.
“They are mostly masonry with some reinforced concrete structures. So, we are carrying or chipping hammers or cutting tools, everything that we need to cut into concrete as well so that we are able to do the best job that is possible in such a situation.”
Karwal also said that this is a great gesture of humanitarian assistance that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made immediately after the tragic incident struck into Turkey.
He said the NDRF feels proud in rendering help in such a crisis with the hope to save many lives.
At least 100 aftershocks measuring 4.0 or greater have hit Turkey since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the southern parts of the country in the Eurasian plateau on Monday morning local time.
The 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey’s Golbasi town located in the Central Anatolia region of Ankara Province, reported the United States Geological Survey. (ANI)