PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department is always ready to rotate the team that has been sent to participate in the search and rescue (SAR) mission for earthquake victims in Turkiye, if necessary.
Department director-general Datuk Abdul Wahab Mat Yasin said that the changes could involve its personnel, assets and tracker dogs (K9).
"We await (instruction) as to whether there will be any changes to ensure the SAR mission runs smoothly. Surely there is an instruction, following the survey by the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), who is currently in Gaziantep to meet the rescue personnel,” he told a media conference after a function at the department headquarters, here, on Wednesday (Feb 15).
So far, 36 firemen and two tracker dogs - Denti and Frankie - have joined the SAR mission in Turkiye together with other rescue teams, including from the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART), Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and Civil Defence Force (APM).
Abdul Wahab, who is satisfied with the performance of his personnel and tracker dogs in the SAR mission in Turkiye, said it meant a lot to the "heroes in red” that they were able to send the rescue team as it was in line with their mission and vision.
"We always follow our team’s progress there (in Turkiye). Every night, we get their report via video call. Alhamdulillah, all our personnel and tracker dogs are healthy and able to carry out their tasks well,” he said.
On Feb 6, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Ritcher scale hit southern Turkiye and Syria.
As of Feb 13, the death toll in Turkiye was reported to have reached 31,644, with another 106,428 people injured, while in Syria, 5,329 have died and 14,500 injured.
As of yesterday, the Malaysian SAR team had successfully brought out 47 bodies from under the rubble and rescued a family of five.
On his appointment as the department director-general, replacing Datuk Seri Mohammad Hamdan Wahid, Abdul Wahab said he would continue his predecessor’s legacy to ensure the success of the agenda to empower the "heroes in red” based on the Madani Malaysia concept introduced by Anwar on Jan 19.
Earlier, at the function, Abdul Wahab handed over the task notes to deputy director-general (Operations) Datuk Edwin Galan Teruki and deputy director-general (Development) Datuk Nor Hisham Mohammad.- Bernama