Turkiye earthquake: Malaysia sends 70 search and rescue personnel

SEPANG: Malaysia is sending the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) to Turkiye to assist search and rescue (SAR) efforts to locate victims of the earthquake in southern Turkiye as a sign of solidarity with those affected by the disaster.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim instructed Wisma Putra and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali to take immediate action by sending a SAR team to Turkiye following the earthquake that hit 10 regions.

ALSO READ: Turkiye Embassy thanks Malaysian govt for swift assistance in deadly quake SAR

He said the Foreign Ministry together with the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) under the Prime Minister’s Department, the Malaysian embassy in Turkiye and the Turkiye embassy in Malaysia would coordinate the operation to ensure everything will run smoothly without complications.

"I reached out to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to get an idea of the situation there and he voiced their urgent needs, including SAR assistance, followed by aid in the form of medicine and other humanitarian aid," he told the media at the send-off of the SAR mission at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport here on Monday (Feb 6).

Armizan, SAR mission chief Cmdr Mohd Khairul Jamil and Turkiye ambassador to Malaysia Emir Salim Yuksel, were also present.

Zambry said 12 Malaysians in the affected regions of Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa and Adana have contacted the Malaysian embassy in Turkiye and were confirmed to be safe.

ALSO READ: Major earthquake kills 3,700 in Turkey and Syria, weather hits survivors

Meanwhile, Mohd Khairul there were 70 personnel in the SMART team, including a medical team from the Royal Medical Corps, the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department’s K9 Unit and a hazardous chemical materials special team, that department tonight for Istanbul on a Turkish Alirlines flight.

He said the team would report in as soon they arrived in the affecting area and would be mobilised according to the secretariat that was determining the areas for the SAR operations, adding that the team was experienced in SAR operations, and had been involved in 12 operations, including an earthquake that hit Izmit, Turkiye in 1999.

The team was also accredited by the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (Insarag) in 2016, which enabled the team to be sent to participate in disaster missions abroad.

The earthquake that hit the southern region of Kahramanmaras at 4.17am local time (0117 GMT) early Monday morning measured 7.4 on the Richter scale, with its epicentre at Pazarcik district.

Media reports had indicated that the earthquake had taken at least 912 lives in southern Turkiye, with another 476 deaths recorded in Syria so far. - Bernama

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Zambry Abdul Kadir , SMART , SAR , Earthquake ,  Turkiye


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