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Chinese civilian teams join rescue work in Turkiye
update:February 09,2023
This photo taken with a mobile phone shows members of a Chinese rescue team arriving at Adana Airport in Adana, Türkiye, Feb. 8, 2023. The 82-member Chinese rescue team arrived at Adana Airport at 4:30 am local time (0130 GMT) on Wednesday after flying over 8,000 kilometers on a chartered Air China plane. (Xinhua/Wu Siyu)
Quake: Team pledges to search for, rescue survivors
Civilian rescue workers across the nation are rushing to join China's official rescue team in earthquake-hit Turkiye, as the window of opportunity to find survivors amid the rubble narrows.
The mobilization of the civilian teams came as China increased its aid to quake-devastated Turkiye and neighboring Syria. The death toll in the two nations had reached more than 11,000 as of Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
A magnitude-7.8 earthquake caused devastation in Turkiye and neighboring Syria at 4:17 am local time on Monday, and was followed by a magnitude-7.5 quake at 1:24 pm, along with hundreds of aftershocks.
China will provide Syria 30 million yuan ($4.4 million) in emergency aid, including $2 million in cash, the China International Development Cooperation Agency said on Wednesday. The agency announced on Tuesday it will send a first tranche of 40 million yuan in emergency aid to Turkiye.
Among the civilian teams that left for Turkiye on Wednesday was Blue Sky Rescue, a nonprofit Chinese search and rescue organization.
Forty-one members of the team departed from Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, shortly after midnight, and another 98 members left from Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, at noon, according to a media release from the organization.
The rescue workers who departed from Wuhan are from at least nine provincial-level regions, including Anhui, Jiangxi and Yunnan provinces as well as the Tibet autonomous region, said Su Qin, a team member from Hefei, capital of Anhui.
"We got in touch with Chinese chambers of commerce in Turkiye and local emergency management authorities," Su said, adding that they would meet them in Turkiye to discuss what help was needed.
Zhang Yupu, from Jiangsu province, said his team could be on the ground in Turkiye for 12 to 15 days, depending on how the situation develops.
"We will try our best to search for and rescue survivors," said Zhang, who also joined relief work after a magnitude-8 earthquake hit Wenchuan, Sichuan province, in 2008.
The Zhejiang Rescue Team of Ramunion has already sent a group of eight rescue experts to Turkiye.
A second group of 14 rescuers has also been dispatched and is expected to arrive on Thursday, according to the NGO.
The Amity Foundation has also sent a team of around 60 to Turkiye. The team will carry out rescue work and provide aid to the quake-affected victims, such as distributing clothes and food and helping to improve sanitation, said the Jiangsu-based NGO.
According to the Ministry of Emergency Management, the chartered flight for China's 82-member official rescue team, with 20 metric tons of disaster relief materials and equipment onboard, arrived at Adana in southern Turkiye at 4:30 am local time on Wednesday.
The rescue team was dispatched after a request for help from the Turkiye government. In addition to equipment for search and rescue work, communications and medical treatment, the team also has four rescue dogs.
Zhao Ming, head of the team, said they unloaded the equipment and aid materials immediately after landing for transportation to quake-hit areas.
The team will undertake tasks according to the developing situation on the ground and after consulting the Chinese embassy, local governments and United Nations bodies.
With certification from the UN as an international heavy urban search and rescue team, the Chinese team consists of high-quality, well-equipped personnel, said Wang Mo, the team's deputy head. "The team can carry out search and rescue operations simultaneously in two locations," he said.
Overseas branches of Chinese companies are also lending a helping hand.
Chinese machinery giant Xu-zhou Construction Machinery Group has mobilized employees of its branch in Turkiye to join the relief efforts.
Dozens of pieces of equipment, including excavators and loaders, have been deployed to help rescue survivors.
The first shipment of relief materials, such as blankets and hygiene products, had been sent to the earthquake-ravaged region, the company said.
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