Dutch rescue team arrives in Turkey; Nearly €1.2 million raised for earthquake victims
Update 7:47 a.m. - Article updated with new figures from Giro 7244 fundraiser
The Dutch Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) landed at Adana airport in the south of Turkey on Monday evening. The 65 people and eight rescue dogs will join teams from all over the world to search for living people under the rubble left by multiple massive earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria. The Red Cross launched Giro 7244 for the victims on Monday afternoon. By 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the fundraiser had already raised nearly 1.2 million euros.
At around 3:00 a.m. this morning, the death toll from the devastating quakes stood at 4,200 people, according to the DPA news agency. The head of Turkey’s disaster relief agency reported at least 2,921 deaths in the country, NOS reports. The White Helmets reported at least 1,300 deaths in Syria. At least 15,800 people got hurt in Turkey, and over 7,800 people have been rescued from under the rubble, a Turkish government official told the news agency AP.
Thousands of buildings collapsed in the two countries. “Thousands of homes are likely to have been destroyed, leaving families displaced and exposed to the elements at a time of the year when temperatures regularly dip below freezing,” UNICEF said in a statement. The United Nations children’s rights organization is particularly concerned about children in Syria, where war already had them in a vulnerable situation.
Rescue efforts are still underway. Countries from all over the world sent help, including the Netherlands, Iraq, Iran, Australia, the United States, Japan, and Russia. Greece also sent aid, despite its difficult relationship with Turkey.
Inmiddels zijn onze mensen geland en het tweede vliegtuig met materieel zit er kort achter. Stemming is goed, wel wat vermoeid na een enerverende dag. pic.twitter.com/xHJx7AKrBL— USAR.NL (@USARNL) February 6, 2023
Dutch Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs called it “poignant” that Russia sent rescue workers to help search for earthquake victims. Speaking on the talk show Op1, he called it an illusion that Russian President Vladimir Putin “isn’t looking at this again through a geopolitical lens.” But he added that it makes perfect sense for Turkey to accept all possible aid at this time, even if it comes with possible political strings.