Turkey earthquake: Pentagon sends urban rescue teams, search dogs, emergency aid items
Stars and Stripes February 7, 2023
WASHINGTON — The U.S. military transported search teams, rescue equipment and other items to Turkey on Tuesday to help crews find more survivors in the aftermath of the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked the country and killed thousands of people.
The quake struck before dawn on Monday, severely shaking parts of southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria.
Many countries have begun sending aid. U.S. Transportation Command said Tuesday that it delivered two Urban Search and Rescue teams and 170,000 pounds of equipment that will help rescuers dig survivors out of the debris and provide medical care and other necessities. Also part of the shipment were a dozen rescue dogs, the command said.
Some of the items shipped to Turkey include concrete breakers, generators, medical supplies, tents, water, and water-purification systems, TRANSCOM said. The aid was sent in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“Our hearts go out to Turkey following the devastating earthquakes,” said Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, TRANSCOM commander. “USTRANSCOM is working closely with USAID to deliver aid to the country, with U.S. assistance already underway.”
The rescue teams and equipment were sent aboard two Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes that left Dover Air Force Base, Del., and March Air Reserve Base, Calif., officials said. The main function of TRANSCOM, one of the military’s 11 unified commands, is to provide transportation via air, sea and land for the Pentagon for military and humanitarian purposes.
“In our profession, nothing is more noble than delivering humanitarian aid to those in need, and we are proud to support our ally Turkey,” Van Ovost said.
Since the quake struck, the United States has been coordinating aid to Turkey, a NATO member, and U.S.-supported humanitarian partners are responding to the destruction in war-torn Syria, which has endured a destructive civil war and terrorist activity for years.
Monday’s quake is one of the most powerful ever to strike Turkey or Syria. A similar 7.8-magnitude quake hit Turkey in 1939 and is believed to have killed more than 30,000 people.
The Associated Press reported a number of other countries and the European Union have sent aid to Turkey, including Great Britain, South Korea, Russia, Israel, Greece, India, Jordan, Switzerland, Japan, Italy and France.