The Czech USAR team during the response after the earthquake in the Turkish city of Adiyaman, February 10, 2023.
Prague – Czech rescuers ended their work in the Turkish city of Adiyaman on Thursday, and are returning to their homeland on Friday. They rescued 78 dead people from the rubble after the earthquake. There was some tension in the area, but the Czech team did not feel any problems or threats. On Wednesday, six international teams remained in place under the USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team operations system. Jakub Kozák, spokesman for the Czech fire department, informed journalists about this.
Photo gallery: Earthquake in Turkey and Syria
“Wednesday, February 15, 2023 was a day for firefighters to continue deployment at two large rubble sites, where heavy equipment is already helping,” said a spokesman on Thursday morning. In one of the sectors, the Czech rescuers ended their work on Wednesday at 21:00, in the other on Thursday at 15:00.
According to Kozák, electricity and water are still not available in the city of Adiyaman, but the gas stations are working and people receiving professional treatment from doctors.
According to the spokesman, the army and police are deployed to ensure security in the city. “There was some tension in the area – teams are advised to have interpreters or guides available when conducting surveys or working on rubble. The Czech team did not directly encounter any problems,” he noted. According to him, the team does not feel threatened, there are no difficulties or conflicts.
The number of rescue teams in the Adiyaman area gradually decreased from 21 on Monday to six international groups on Wednesday, two of which were from the US. “According to the statistics recorded in the USAR team operations system, Czech firefighters are responsible for rescuing more than a quarter of all victims in the city,” said Kozák. Last week, Czech rescuers also rescued two people alive from the rubble, and a dog from the Czech cynological group helped colleagues from another team find another living woman in the rubble.
The rescuers will return to the Czech Republic on Friday afternoon, they should arrive at the Prague airport at 15:40. The plane will then continue to Ostrava, where the landing is planned for 19:35. The plane of the company Smartwings and two planes of the Czech army will deliver blankets from the warehouses of the State Material Reserves Administration (SSHR), medical consumables purchased from the Medevac program and 500 trauma kits from the Czech Red Cross to Turkey, Kozák said. Part of the Czech team is thus preparing to take over humanitarian aid and to cancel the camp in Adiyaman. Rescuers in Turkey will keep four of their 11 tents in use there, according to a spokesman. Until now, a rescue team from the US had them at their disposal, based on a Turkish request, they will be moved to evacuation camps.
According to the latest data, the earthquake that hit southeast Turkey and northwest neighboring Syria on February 6 claimed more than 41,000 lives. Of these, more than 35,400 dead are in Turkey. Over 100,000 people were injured. Even on the tenth day after the earthquake, rescuers in Turkey rescued three women and two children alive from the rubble on Wednesday. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is the worst natural disaster in the region in the last century.