Last search day of Dutch rescue team in Turkey
Sunday marks the last day of the Dutch search and rescue team USAR in Hatay, Turkey. The rescuers will make one last effort to find and free survivors from the rubble, as reported by national commander Arjen Littooij of USAR. The base camp will be dismantled and they will hand over the work to other teams. The team will depart from there on Monday and arrive in the Netherlands later this week.
The USAR spokesperson announced just before 10 a.m. Dutch time that two rescue groups left early on Sunday morning, at which point the other two will set out. "We are mainly exploring a wider area around the city of Hatay." According to spokesperson, for now, no situations have been encountered where they could possibly do something.
Vandaag is de laatste dag dat we als Nederlands reddingsteam in het getroffen gebied gaan zoeken naar slachtoffers. Morgen beginnen we aan onze reis huiswaarts en maken we ruimte voor andere hulpverleners die meer in deze nieuwe fase kunnen betekenen. pic.twitter.com/3BMDoq2af2— USAR.NL (@USARNL) February 12, 2023
"Six days after the earthquake, a new phase begins for us. The chances of survival are very low," Littooij reported. "That means other help is needed. On Sunday, the Dutch rescue team will spend another day searching in and outside Hatay. After that, our work will be finished after very intensive days. We will hand it over to other teams."
6 dagen na de aardbeving komen we in een andere fase. De kans op overleven is zeer gering. Dat betekent dat er andere hulp nodig is. Zondag gaat @USARNL nog één dag in en buiten Hatay zoeken. Daarna zit ons werk er na zeer intensieve dagen op. We dragen het over aan andere teams. pic.twitter.com/2qWIH6vPBF— Arjen Littooij (@ArjenLittooij) February 11, 2023
According to USAR, new teams are still arriving in Turkey, so the work can be handed over "with confidence." The team reports that rescuers are growing physically and mentally tired after six days of searching. "Fortunately, there are new, fresh forces in the area. Several rescue teams have just arrived and can continue the search for survivors. Therefore, it was decided to start the last search on Sunday and dissolve the camp."
The rescue teams will first travel from the base camp to the military airport in Adana on Monday. From there, they will fly to an undisclosed location to recover from "this emotional roller coaster ride and the many days of almost continuous search and rescue with few moments of rest." On Thursday, the team will land at Eindhoven Air Base.
Since their arrival in Turkey, the Dutch team has rescued 12 people and one dog. On Friday, the team managed to rescue another 8-year-old boy alive from the rubble 106 hours after the earthquakes.
Reporting by ANP