An Indian is missing and 10 others are stuck but safe in remote regions of earthquake-hit Turkey, even as specialist teams sent by India to the West Asian country commenced their search and rescue operations, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Wednesday. India launched Operation Dost to extend assistance to Turkey as well as Syria following Mondays devastating quake that has killed over 11,000 people in the two countries. At a media briefing, Secretary (West) in the MEA, Sanjay Verma said while one Indian has gone missing in one of the affected areas in Turkey, 10 others are stuck in some remote parts but they are safe.
He said three Indians who approached the Indian government were taken to a safe location, adding that the Indians in Turkey are relatively safe.
“We set up a control room at Adana in Turkey. Ten Indians are stuck in remote parts of the affected areas, but they are safe. We have one Indian national missing who was on a business visit to Turkey. He has not been traced in the last two days. We are in touch with his family and the company in Bengaluru which employs him,” Verma said.
“We have received calls from around 75 people asking our embassy there about information and assistance,” he said. The number of Indians residing in Turkey is around 3,000, out of which about 1,800 live in and around Istanbul, while 250 are in Ankara and rest are spread all over the country, according to the official. “Under #OperationDost, India is sending search and rescue teams, a field hospital, materials, medicines and equipment to Turkey and Syria. This is an ongoing operation and we would be posting updates,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted.
On Tuesday, India sent to Turkey relief materials, a mobile hospital and specialised search and rescue teams in four C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft to support the countrys rescue efforts.
India also sent relief materials on board a C-130J aircraft of the Indian Air Force to Syria.
Officials said India is sending more aid to Turkey.
Verma said Turkey had sent a message to India seeking assistance.
Asked about sending aid to Syria when the country has been under US sanctions, Verma said India is following the G20 mantra of One Earth, One Family, One Future. “Sanctions do not cover such humanitarian assistance,” he said.
On Twitter, Jaishankar shared photos of teams from Indias National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) commencing search operation in Turkey’s Gaziantep.
“It was perhaps the furthest that we have gone in terms of HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) involving specialised teams. We tried to live up to our reputation as first responders,” Verma said.
At the press conference, NDRF Director General Atul Karwal said the force is ready to send more teams.
India had on Monday decided to immediately dispatch search and rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), medical teams and relief material to Turkey following Prime Minister Narendra Modis instructions to offer all possible assistance to the country. Several countries, including the US and the UK, are sending relief materials and search and rescue specialists to Turkey to help search for survivors of the quake.
The massive earthquake has killed more than 11,000 people and flattened thousands of buildings in Turkey and neighbouring Syria. On aid to Syria, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the consignments were handed over to Deputy Minister of Local Administration and Environment of Syria, Moutaz Douaji at Damascus airport Wednesday morning.
“The consignment consists of emergency medicines and equipment, including portable ECG machines, patient monitors and other essential medical items,” it said in a statement.
The MEA said India, over the years, has been extending humanitarian, technical and developmental assistance to Syria through bilateral and multilateral channels.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)