Israeli I.D.F. disaster-relief specialists in quake-hit, south Turkey, rescue 10 civilians; Set up early field hospital

Overnight, Home Front Command search and rescue experts pull 26-year-old woman, 65-year-old man out of collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaraş

by EMANUEL FABIAN in The Times of Israel 8 February '23

I.D.F. Search and Rescue teams work to find survivors of Turkish earthquake on Tues 8 February 

Israeli military search and rescue teams working since a devastating earthquake struck southeastern Turkey earlier this week have so far pulled out ten Turkish civilians from the rubble, the Israel Defense Forces said Thursday morning.

The IDF Home Front Command delegation began work on Tuesday, a day after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the region and killed thousands of people.

Meanwhile, a second IDF delegation that landed in the country on Wednesday began establishing a field hospital on the outskirts of the city of Kahramanmaraş overnight.

The IDF said 15 Air Force cargo planes ferried hundreds of tons of equipment and some 230 participants — including search and rescue experts, military medics and Health Ministry doctors, nurses and paramedics — to Turkey to set up the hospital.

The first IDF delegation of 150 search and rescue experts continued to work to rescue civilians trapped under the rubble, saving a 26-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man in the predawn hours of Thursday in the quake-stricken city, also known as Marash.

The military published footage of the rescues.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, the head of the aid delegation, Col. (Res.) Golan Vach, said the Israeli teams had seen successes. Vach said such IDF aid delegations usually last between nine and 14 days, and in this case, were ready to stay that long.

Several delegations of Israeli medics from emergency organizations have also headed to Turkey to assist local authorities in treating victims of the earthquake.

The Foreign Ministry was weighing an additional flight to Turkey containing humanitarian items and medicine.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel also plans to send aid to Syria, including tents, medication, and blankets. But Syrian sources vigorously denied requesting aid from Israel, and IDF spokesman Ran Kochav told reporters that the military was not involved in potential aid to Syria.

Israel considers Syria a hostile state, and the two do not have diplomatic ties. However, during the neighboring country’s bloody civil war, the IDF carried out a massive humanitarian operation to aid Syrian civilians.

The earthquake death toll was at least 16,000 people in both Turkey and Syria as of Thursday morning.

Hundreds were still believed to be trapped under rubble, and the toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched through mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area.

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