Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers’ search-and-rescue teams as well as medical teams with specialised equipment arrived in Türkiye on Wednesday morning. (Twitter/ @Giftofthegivers)
Humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers’ search-and-rescue teams as well as medical teams with specialised equipment arrived in Türkiye on Wednesday morning to help after Monday’s devastating earthquake.
Rescuers who were already on the ground in Türkiye and neighbouring Syria were still hoping to pull more survivors from the rubble. Measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, the earthquake struck villages and cities in the two countries.
The death toll from the earthquake has risen above 17 000 as of Thursday.
Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said the organisation had received good reception from the Turkish government and had set up a medical facility on the border between Türkiye and Syria to provide assistance.
“The numbers are going to be very high. We have opened up our stand by the hospital on the border with Türkiye and Syria, moving patients and putting additional medical teams on-site,” Sooliman said.
Clayson Monyela, the head of public diplomacy at the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco), acknowledged that Gift of the Givers was in Türkiye to offer assistance.
“As the department, we have offered collaboration by sending five South African Police Service dog handlers and five search dogs to assist with the search,” he said, adding that all South Africans living in earthquake-stricken areas had been accounted for.
“If there are South Africans who may require help, the first port of call is to contact the South African Embassy in Türkiye, Ankara. If they are unable to do that, they can contact Dirco in Pretoria and we will facilitate that they get assistance from the embassy there.”
He said that search-and-rescue efforts had been hampered by harsh weather conditions and they had taken action to help affected people.