The earthquake in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon has been world news since Monday morning. Several government leaders have already pledged their help, including Spain. On Tuesday, the emergency services flew dogs and an emergency hospital to the affected area.
The earthquake and aftershocks on the border between Turkey and Syria have left thousands dead and hundreds of buildings already collapsed. Furthermore, the danger has not yet passed as hundreds of other buildings are on the verge of collapse and thousands of people are still missing under the buildings and rubble.
Spain sends search and rescue teams to Turkey and Syria
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain, along with other government leaders, expressed his support and sympathy for the people in the affected area on social media on Monday morning. The Spanish Prime Minister already announced at the time that he would convene a meeting to activate and deploy various search and rescue teams from Spain to the affected area.
Spanish regions offer their own tools
Sánchez is supported in this by the Ministries of Defense and the Interior. Regional colleagues also offer their help, including regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso of Madrid who called in various emergency services from the Madrid region. The Catalan Foreign Minister, Juanma Moreno of Andalucia, and the regional government of Murcia also announced that they would make their resources available to be deployed in the affected area.
Together with the military emergency services of the UME and the Madrid emergency response team, units of the Spanish Fire Brigade (BUSF) are also travelling to Turkey to participate in rescue efforts to locate and, if possible, rescue those thousands of people still trapped in and under buildings. Their first tasks will mainly be using rescue dogs to look for people trapped under the rubble.
Several emergency services just arrived in Turkey
At the time of the earthquake, around 150 soldiers from Spain were already present in the area for a NATO mission. Consequently, they were able to travel quickly to the disaster area and provide assistance to the victims. On Tuesday evening around 8.30 pm, dozens of UME soldiers, firefighters and special members of the so-called ‘START team’ left for the area affected by the earthquake.
On Tuesday it was announced that Spain is using this special START team to send dozens of healthcare professionals to the disaster area together with a mobile field hospital to provide the necessary medical assistance. This emergency medical team is accredited by the WHO, making Spain, together with Italy and France, one of three countries in Europe with such an emergency team. This team was previously deployed for humanitarian missions in Mozambique and after the earthquake in Haiti.