|Major Trần Quốc Hương, Captain of the Vietnam People’s Army's Search and Rescue Dog Team in Turkey. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI – The Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) team has successfully completed its mission providing humanitarian assistance, rescue and relief for earthquake-hit Turkey.
The team, comprising soldiers from the engineer unit and border guards, helped with rescue and relief work in Hatay Province – one of the localities hardest hit by the earthquake on February 6.
Speaking to Vietnam News Agency, Major Lê Đức Tài, captain of the Engineer Unit's Rescue Team, said that 30 soldiers have helped detect and pull victims out from under the rubble.
They discussed search plans and then used sniffer dogs and sapper equipment to search sites where there were possibly victims under the debris.
Many soldiers put aside their personal lives, delaying wedding celebrations and saying goodbye to their new-born babies, to accompany their teammates during the difficult mission.
All soldiers entered the earthquake epicentre with the hope and determination to rescue the most people, helping Turkey quickly rebuild and ease people’s suffering.
Tài said, playing a pivotal role in search and rescue, the soldiers worked closely with the High Command of Border Guard’s Search and Rescue Dog Team and local rescue forces.
The military team searched locations in Hatay, helping discover two sites with survivors trapped under the rubble.
However, he said, the team encountered some obstacles when the equipment could only rescue victims buried in shallow areas as well as positions where the supporting concrete pillars had not yet completely collapsed.
The team coordinated with local rescue forces to help victims in high-rise buildings that had collapsed.
Nguyễn Văn Nghĩa, Deputy Captain of the VPA’s Search and Rescue Dog Team, said it was a great honour to participate in the rescue operation in Turkey.
After ten days, the soldiers had managed to pull 31 bodies out of the rubble.
Major Trần Quốc Hương, Captain of the Search and Rescue Dog Team, said the trip had left lasting memories.
Amid the rubble after the earthquake, the service dogs climbed and explored every possible gap to try to find traces of the victims.
The dedication of the Vietnamese soldiers and the dog team touched many Turkish people, who put their hands on their chests to express their gratitude.
“These are precious and unforgettable memories for soldiers during the relief campaign in this tragic land of Hatay,” he said.
President of Turkey Tayyip Erdogan thanked Vietnamese forces for their support and tireless efforts in search and rescue operations following the huge earthquake on February 6.
Erdogan noted his gratitude to foreign countries for their emergency aid and dispatch of search and rescue forces to Turkey, stressing that the earthquake has revealed the importance of international solidarity and Turkey will forever keep in mind the friendship. VNS