Syria-Turkey earthquake: India’s ‘Operation Dost’ in full swing as death toll passes 11,000

Team India Sentinels Wednesday 8th of February 2023 08:23 PM

India’s NDRF personnel seen in a search-and-rescue mission in Turkey’s Gaziantep. (Photo: Foreign ministry)

New Delhi: In the deadliest earthquake worldwide in over a decade, more than 11,000 people have been confirmed killed in Turkey and Syria, so far, where a 7.8-magnitude temblor followed by several powerful aftershocks shook the two countries on Monday. The epicentre of the earthquake was 20 kilometres from Turkey’s Kahramanmaras, followed by powerful aftershocks in the region, which devastated cities and towns in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria.

According to the volunteer organization White Helmets, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the country’s death toll passed 8,500. On the other hand, Syrian health authorities said the death toll in government-held areas has crossed 1,200, while at least 1,400 people have died in the rebel-held northwest in the civil war-torn country.

Operation Dost

India has joined search-and-rescue teams from more than two dozen countries in both countries with relief materials and medical aid in a mission codenamed “Operation Dost”. (“Dost” in Arabic and Hindi means “friend”.) The civil war in Syria has complicated rescue-relief missions in isolated places where thousands of people are awaiting help.

So far, India has dispatched six tonnes of emergency relief materials, including medicines and medical equipment, like portable ECG machines and monitors, etc, to Syria by an Indian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft. They were delivered to Syrian authorities by India’s charge d’affairs to Damascus, SK Yadav, on Wednesday.

As Syria is facing several United Nations and international sanctions, most of the relief work is routed through the UN. Currently, Russia, Syria’s top ally with a large military presence in the country, is leading the rescue-and-relief efforts there.

For Turkey, India has already dispatched 108 tonnes of relief material, equipment, and a team of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) rescue personnel and 99 medical specialists in four IAF C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. The medical specialists which will set up a 30-bed field hospital. The equipment sent to Turkey include x-ray machines, ventilators, mobile operation theatre, vehicles, ambulances, generators, etc. A dog squad has also been sent to detect people trapped under the debris of collapsed buildings.

India is likely to send more relief material and rescue personnel to Syria and Turkey, as foreign minister S Jaishankar hinted, on Wednesday. In a tweet, he said India is sending rescue teams and relief materials to the two countries, and he would be posting updates of the ongoing operation.


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