Malaysia deploys 142 SAR personnel, tracker dogs to Turkiye: Wisma Putra

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has deployed 142 rescue personnel and two tracker dogs (K9) to participate in the search and rescue (SAR) mission for earthquake victims in Turkiye so far, the Foreign Ministry said today.

It said that they comprised personnel from the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART), Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) and Civil Defence Force (APM).

“As a result of close cooperation between all government agencies, Malaysian missions in Ankara and Istanbul, the Malaysian team led by the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) was among the first SAR teams to arrive at the scene in Gaziantep,” it said in a statement today.

Wisma Putra said among the team’s successes was it managed to rescue five victims trapped under the ruins after 129 hours (five hours) of the earthquake.

In addition, Malaysia has opened a field hospital in Celikhan, Adiyaman, which is being managed by MAF.

The statement also said that two A400 aircraft belonging to the Royal Malaysian Air Force carrying 38 technical personnel and 30 tonnes of equipment had arrived at the Gaziantep International Airport on Friday (Feb 10).

“Seventy more medical personnel of various ranks from MAF has departed via the Turkish Airlines on Feb 10 and 11 to bring additional equipment weighing 8.8 tonnes,” it said.

At the same time, three SMART officers have been given an initial assignment by the Turkiye Disaster Management Agency to operate the Reception Departure Centre (RDC), namely to coordinate the entry of SAR teams from other countries at Adana Airport.

The assignment at the RDC is based on the mechanisms and guidelines stipulated by the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG).

“As one of the first teams to arrive, the Malaysian team became a reference to assist the host disaster agency and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) as the RDC operator until they were replaced by a team that arrived later,” it said.

Meanwhile, based on information from the Malaysian team in Gaziantep, the quake survivors are in dire need of winter tents, thick blankets, heaters, portable bathrooms and toilets, sleeping bags and containers for temporary accommodation.

Malaysians are welcome to contribute through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Disaster Fund by channelling donations to Affin Islamic Bank Berhad account 1054 9000 0599.

A strong earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, that hit southern Turkiye and northwestern Syria on Monday has claimed thousands of lives. Aftershocks were also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon. – Bernama