PAVN sends 76-member team to aid earthquake relief efforts in Turkey

February 12, 2023 - 16:14
In a demonstration of friendship and humanitarianism, the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam directed the Ministry of Defense to dispatch a delegation of PAVN officers to Turkey.
Leaders of the General Department of Logistics applaud the officers who will join the relief mission. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức

{ "id": "zxcJKGGgUf", "type": "myToolImages", "data": { "data": "" } }

HÀ NỘI — To help Turkey deal with aftermaths of the devastating earthquakes that struck the country, the People's Army of Việt Nam (PAVN) has mobilised a team of 76 highly trained military officers to assist with rescue and relief efforts.

In a demonstration of friendship and humanitarianism, the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Việt Nam directed the Ministry of Defence to dispatch a delegation of officers to Turkey.

Comprising of the highly-trained Collapse Rescue Team of the Army Corps of Engineers, the delegation is equipped with an extensive range of relief equipment to assist in their search and rescue efforts.

With a wealth of experience honed through countless drills at home and abroad, the team is poised to tackle their upcoming mission, which will involve searching for survivors and providing aid in the aftermath of the crisis.

"The team are aware of the difficult situation in Turkey, especially the weather," said Major Trần Thế Thành.

On Saturday, the PAVN's General Department of Logistics assigned a team of medical officers to join the relief mission in Turkey.

"I felt sad and emotional after seeing the devastation of the earthquake in Turkey," said Colonel Văn Trọng Trung, deputy director of the Orthopedic Department, 354 Military Hospital.

"My comrades and I are eager to join the relief efforts," he added.

According to Trung, the equipment is fully prepared and ready, even for the cold winter weather of Turkey. Although emergency relief for disasters is a relatively new field for doctors, their experience in dealing with the pandemic has brought them confidence in accomplishing the mission.

Captain Lê Trọng Nghĩa, who joined the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan from 2019 to 2021, will also join the humanitarian mission.

"I was surprised to be asked by the Deputy Director of the 354 Military Hospital to go on this mission," said Nghĩa. "But I am ready as a soldier and a Party member to accomplish missions given by the Party and the country."

According to Nghĩa, the colder weather in Turkey will vastly differ from the weather in South Sudan, where he was on a mission two years earlier.

A team of six dogs from the Search and Rescue Dogs of the Border Guards have also been sent to Turkey, along with nine training officers.

"The team is proud to be selected by the Border Guards Command to join the relief efforts in Turkey," said Major Trần Quốc Hương, captain of the Search and Rescue Dogs training team.

As the weather conditions will be difficult, Brigadier General Hoàng Hữu Chiến, deputy commander and adviser of the Border Guards, encouraged training officers and rescue dogs to be resilient and ensure proper safety measures while doing their missions.

In a conference on Friday, Colonel General Nguyễn Tân Cương, chief of the General Staff, deputy minister of Defence, said that there are no direct flights between Việt Nam and Turkey, the army is working closely with Turkish authorities and the Embassy of Turkey in Việt Nam, as well as the Vietnamese Embassy in Turkey, to arrange transportation for the PAVN officers.

Cương aims to have flights arranged by Monday at the latest.

Along with 76 officers, the PAVN team will bring 30 tonnes of equipment and 10 tonnes of supplies for affected people.

The Ministry of Defence ordered the Department of External Affairs to quickly contact Turkish authorities for transportation and inform the Turkey Disaster and Management Authority (AFAD) of the officers and their relief mission.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security has already deployed a 24-member team that has begun engaging in search and rescue efforts in the southeastern Turkish city of Adiyaman, which is among the localities bearing the brunt of the devastating earthquakes.

According to the ministry’s police department of fire prevention, fighting and rescue, the delegation arrived at Istanbul's international airport on February 10.

Due to difficulties in travelling and transporting 15 tonnes of equipment for rescue work, they were divided into two groups to reach the site where their services were needed.

On February 11, they began working at the rubble of a building in Adiyaman where the local authorities said 15 people were trapped.

Related inspection and planning activities were thoroughly conducted given extremely difficult conditions, as the temperature dropped to minus six degrees Celsius and buildings continued to collapse, said a team representative.

The group left Việt Nam for Turkey on February 9, the first time Việt Nam sent a delegation on an international search and rescue mission to a disaster site so far away.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Turkey also sent a working delegation to southeastern provinces to join search and rescue activities for victims.

So far, there was no information on Vietnamese citizens dead or injured in the disaster.

In addition to contacting authorities and police of ten affected localities to seek information related to Vietnamese citizens and engaging in supporting the victims, the delegation has guided the Vietnamese forces deployed to Turkey, first secretary at the Embassy Nguyễn Phú Tân Hương told the Vietnam News Agency.

According to Hương, some 200 Vietnamese expatriates live in Turkey, mostly married to Turkish partners, and a few of them reside in the quake-hit areas. To seek support, Vietnamese can contact the embassy through hotlines 0090 545 785 85 48, she advised.

Hương said the Association of Overseas Vietnamese in Turkey is raising funds for the victims. For the same purpose, on February 8, the embassy held an event to donate money and necessities. — VNS