Public security ministry’s search-and-rescue team returns from earthquake-hit Turkey

February 19, 2023 - 20:14
The Ministry of Public Security has presented certificates of merit to members of the search-and-rescue team in recognition of their conduct.
The Vietnamese search and rescue unit of the Ministry of Public Security arrives at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội on Sunday after wrapping up its mission in Turkey. — VNA/VNS Photo Hải Linh

HÀ NỘI — A search-and-rescue team from the Ministry of Public Security returned to Hà Nội on Sunday after completing its 10-day mission of helping earthquake victims in Turkey.

A report by the team’s head, Colonel Nguyễn Minh Khương, said the team has fulfilled all tasks assigned by the Turkish authorities, searching for victims in three areas.

The team, in coordination with local and international forces, found one survivor and recovered the bodies of 14 victims from the wreckage. The colonel said the team was appreciated for its whole-heartedness and professionalism.

In addition, the team delivered nearly two tonnes of medical equipment that the Ministry of Public Security presented to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the health department of Adiyaman City. The team also visited and gave gifts to quake-affected residents, including some Vietnamese families.

The performance of the team has demonstrated the professionalism and capacity of the Vietnamese public security force, Colonel Khương said, adding that many Turkish citizens and organisations came to the team’s base to express their gratitude.

He noted that the team has benefited from the close coordination of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry and Vietnamese representative agencies in Turkey, as well as the local authorities in Turkey and international rescue forces.

Deputy Ambassador of Turkey to Việt Nam Devletsah Yayan expressed appreciation to the team for braving hardships and difficulties to participate in search and rescue work in areas hard hit by the earthquakes.

At the ceremony to welcome the team back to Hà Nội, Deputy Minister of Public Security Lê Quốc Hùng recognised the resolve and good work of the 24-member team in the face of inclement weather and hardships at the site, stressing that they have contributed to highlighting the political commitment of Việt Nam as a responsible member of the international community which is always ready to engage in joint efforts to address difficulties and challenges and maintain a peaceful and stable environment for cooperation and development in the region and the world.

Also at the ceremony, the Ministry of Public Security presented certificates of merit to members of the search-and-rescue team in recognition of their conduct.

The team also received a certificate of merit from the President of the Việt Nam Red Cross’ Central Committee.

Meanwhile, the rescue team of the Việt Nam People’s Army (VPA) searched four locations for earthquake victims in Turkey’s Hatay province on February 18, finding out two sites with victims under the rubble.

After discovering the two locations with victims, the team handed over those sites to the local rescue forces to pull the victims out.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Maj. Gen. Phạm Văn Tỵ, Deputy Chief of the Standing Office of the National Committee for Incident and Natural Disaster Response, Search and Rescue and Deputy Director of the Rescue Department under the VPA’s General Staff, said that at the first site, the Turkish forces had brought dead bodies out of the rubble.

At the second site, the Vietnamese team thought there were likely four victims, and local rescuers are working to pull them out.

According to Tỵ, the VPA team is tasked with searching and detecting sites where there are likely victims to inform the Turkish rescue force in accordance with rules set by the international coordinating body and Turkish authorities.

He added that the excavation of collapsed buildings requires heavy equipment which the team does not have.

As of late February 18 (Việt Nam time), the VPA team had helped Turkey identify 14 sites with earthquake victims, including two locations with signs of survivors.

Impressed with the team’s resolve and efforts, Selman Oturk, a Turkish citizen, told the VNA reporter that he is deeply grateful to the team for helping Turkish people surmount these trying times.

Zakaria, an earthquake survivor, thanked the Vietnamese force for helping search for his family members trapped under the rubble.

To date, the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria on February 6 has killed over 46,000 people.— VNS