Arrival of the Czech USAR team from Turkey, where they helped search and rescue people from the rubble after the earthquake, February 17, 2023, Václav Havel Airport Prague.
Prague – Today at 4:40 p.m., a plane carrying Czech rescue workers who were helping the Turkish city of Adiyaman with the consequences of the devastating earthquake landed at Prague's Václav Havel Airport. They rescued 78 dead and two living people from the rubble. The rescuers were welcomed at the airport by Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan (STAN) and the Turkish ambassador in Prague. According to the Austrian, the rescuers gave the Czech Republic a very good name, he appreciated their work, but also how quickly they went to Turkey.
The earthquake that hit southeast Turkey and northwest neighboring Syria on February 6 claimed nearly 44,000 lives, according to the latest data. Of these, more than 38,000 dead are in Turkey. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is the worst natural disaster in the area in the last century.
The so-called USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team went to Turkey on the evening of Monday, February 6 and has been deployed continuously since Tuesday. “A huge thank you goes to them. They showed what Czech rescuers can do,” said the Austrian. According to him, the interior allowed departure within hours and the Czechs were one of the first to arrive at the site. According to the Austrian, they proved to be beneficial exercises, thanks to which the logistics were mastered flawlessly.
The Austrian described the mission participants as heroes. “They made the Czech Republic a great name in conditions that were unimaginable for an ordinary civilian,” he added. The work was sad and depressing, but also rewarded with happiness, the Austrian said. Last week, Czech rescuers rescued two people alive from the rubble, a dog from a Czech canine group helped colleagues from another team find another living woman in the rubble.
The Czech Republic originally sent a team of 68 rescuers to Turkey, whose members included firefighters and doctors , civil engineers or cynologists. He was joined at the weekend by two more firefighters who flew in on an Army CASA plane along with a load of humanitarian aid and firefighting equipment. The humanitarian aid mainly consisted of clothes.
The general director of the Fire and Rescue Service, Vladimír Vlček, said at the airport that in the Turkish city of Adiyaman, the rescuers did a great job, which is also appreciated by the locals. “If we take the total performance of all 18 teams in Adiyaman, the Czech team performed 26 percent. From Turkey's point of view, almost ten percent of the performances of all foreign teams,” he said.
Czech team leader Jiří Němčík appreciated the support that she was getting to the rescuers. “Everyone was aware that in this extremely difficult situation, which is our goal, no one was inclined to relent even for a moment,” he said. The Turkish ambassador in Prague, Egemen Bagis, thanked the Czech Republic and the Czech citizens for true friendship and solidarity.
The plane of the company Smartwings and two planes of the Czech army delivered to Turkey today blankets from the warehouses of the State Material Reserves Administration (SSHR), consumable medical supplies purchased from the Medevac program or 500 trauma sets from the Czech Red Cross. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the shipment contained, for example, bandages, sutures, gloves, tourniquets, cannulas and surgical instruments.