Illustrative photo – USAR team prepares to depart for earthquake-hit Turkey, February 6, 2023, Ostrava.
Adiyaman (Turkey)/Prague – Czech rescuers will return from Turkey, where they are helping after Monday's earthquake, probably on Friday night. It will depend on the development of the situation and the demands of the Turkish side. Jakub Kozák, spokesman for the Czech fire brigade, informed journalists about this today. Rescuers from the Czech Republic have so far rescued 34 dead from the rubble in the Turkish city of Adiyaman, rescued two survivors and assisted colleagues from another team in rescuing a woman.
Photo gallery: Earthquake in Turkey and Syria
The Czech Republic originally sent a team of 68 rescuers to Turkey, whose members include doctors, construction engineers and cynologists in addition to firefighters. The so-called USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team arrived in Turkey on Tuesday. He will be joined today by two more firefighters who flew out on a CASA army aircraft overnight with a load of humanitarian aid and firefighting equipment. Part of the humanitarian aid is mainly clothing.
“Two firefighters will take over the cargo at the airport in Adiyaman – it currently accepts only special flights, it is closed for commercial traffic – and will stay with our team until the end of its deployment, ” said the spokesman.
The Czech USAR team began searching two buildings with an area of approximately 40 by 40 meters on Tuesday evening. In the night of today, the rescuers recovered the last two bodies from them. “So both houses are dismantled and the work on them is finished,” Kozák pointed out. Part of the team set out to help Polish colleagues, who asked for assistance in surveying the rubble in a place about 40 kilometers from Adiyaman.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks mainly affected the south of Turkey, but they were felt also northwest Syria. It has claimed more than 28,000 victims so far. Even five days after the tremors, rescuers continued to find survivors in the ruins of the cities, Turkish media reported, according to the AP agency. But hopes for more rescues are falling along with the temperatures. In Syria, search and humanitarian operations are complicated by the complex domestic political and security situation. Access to regions under the control of insurgent groups is especially difficult.
The Czech USAR team abroad helped in the past, for example, in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2020 after an explosion in the port, which claimed the lives of two hundred people and injured another 6,000. In the Czech team at that time, along with firefighters, there were also cynologists with dogs, a structural engineer and a doctor.