A pair of massive earthquakes that hit south-eastern Türkiye near the Syrian border last week has shocked the global community, prompting nations all over the world to send urgent aid. On its part, Russia has sent additional 36 metric tons of humanitarian aid to the country.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said that the humanitarian aid was delivered by three planes.
“The Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Il-76 aircraft carrying humanitarian aid has departed for Türkiye,” TASS quoted the statement as saying. “As many as 36 metric tons of humanitarian aid has been sent to Turkish citizens affected by a devastating earthquake.”
An emergency team from Russia was among the first to arrive in Türkiye in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes. The 100-member Russian rescue team arrived in the hardest-hit province of Kahramanmaras on February 7 to eliminate the consequences of the earthquakes that have left thousands dead, and thousands injured with many in critical condition. The second team with rescuers and medical specialists, including traumatologists, neurosurgeons, surgeons, as well as anesthesiologists and intensive care specialists, left the next day.
So far, the Russian planes have delivered around 150 rescue and medical specialists, equipment and medication to Türkiye. According to media reports, Russia has dispatched three aircraft containing humanitarian aid, including 500 tents, 9,000 sleeping bags and heat-insulating mats, and 19 tons of food products.
At least 35,418 people in the southern and central provinces of Türkiye were killed during earthquakes that hit the country within the space of a few hours last Monday. The 7.7 and 7.6 magnitudes earthquakes with the epicentre in the Kahramanmarash province also stuck southern provinces and cities of the country, including Kilis, Diyarbakir, Adana, Osmaniye, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Adiyaman, Malatya and Hatay.
Several neighbouring countries, including Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, also felt the strong tremors. According to the UN and the Syrian government, more than 5,800 people died in the Syrian provinces of Idlib, Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Raqqa.
Following the deadly quakes, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared seven days of national mourning and a three-month state of emergency in ten of the country’s provinces. Ankara also announced eligibility for foreign assistance.
The World Health Organization has called the powerful earthquakes that rocked Türkiye Europe's “worst natural disaster in a century.”