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13.11.2017 12:43 News >> Update - Turkey Sends Help To Quake Victims İn Northern Iraq

Update - Turkey Sends Help To Quake Victims İn Northern Iraq

Disaster and Emergency Management Authority flight carrying search and rescue team, supplies dispatched to Sulaymaniyah.

A military cargo plane carrying aid and a search-and-rescue team left Ankara for northern Iraq on Monday to help earthquake victims in the region.

The Airbus A400M Atlas aircraft took off from Etimesgut air base at 9.24 a.m. local time (0624GMT) carrying a 20-strong search team and another medical team of 10 from the Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), two vehicles, 60 tents, 320 blankets and medical supplies.

AFAD President Mehmet Gulluoglu said the flight would attempt to land at Sulaymaniyah International Airport.

Another 10-strong search-and-rescue team was dispatched by road, he added in a statement.

Turkey's aid efforts are being coordinated with the central government in Baghdad and the Iraqi Red Crescent.

According to AFAD's Twitter account, 5,000 tents, 7,000 blankets, 92 personnel and 11 vehicles were dispatched to northern Iraq immediately after the earthquake.

The Turkish Red Crescent was the first international aid agency to arrive in the quake-hit parts of northern Iraq, the agency said.

Turkish aid staff arrived within hours of the quake in the most-affected area of Derbendihan district, where a number of buildings were destroyed and tens of houses damaged.

Aid packets were also delivered to affected families.

"As the first aid agency to have arrived here, we have started assessing the cost of damage. We are talking to people. We will distribute food packages and blankets," Oguzhan Demir from the Turkish Red Crescent's logistics and operation unit told Anadolu Agency.

Collapsed houses

Resident Taha Salih Muhammed, whose two-storey house was destroyed, said: "We panicked. Thank god, we do not have any causalities.

"Just seconds after we left the house, it collapsed. Right now I am staying with my family at our neighbors' place."

Turkey's eastern Van province also sent aid to affected families in northern Iraq.

A total of 26 search-and-rescue personnel, five vehicles and a rescue dog were sent to the region, Van's Provincial Disaster and Emergency Director Osman Ucar said.

Ucar added that a plane carrying aid was also being prepared.

Another two lorries loaded with aid were dispatched from southern Turkey's Kilis province, according to a spokesman for the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation's Kilis coordination center.

The lorries were loaded with 150 tents and more than 1,000 blankets as well as food, including five tonnes of rice, 1,500 liters of oil, nearly 10,000 cans of fish and five tonnes of lentils, Yakup Alaca said.

Hundreds were killed in the earthquake that struck 32 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of the city of Halabja, near the Iranian border, at 9.18 p.m. local time (1818GMT).

Iranian Fars news agency reported that at least 328 had been killed in western Iran and around 4,000 injured. Gulluoglu said there had not been a request for help from Iran but Turkey would be willing to respond to a request.

Iraqi Interior Ministry said seven people were killed and hundreds injured in northern Iraq.

Authorities in Iran ordered a three-day period of mourning in Kermanshah, the most heavily affected area.

Yunus Keles in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, Cemal Asan in Van and Izzet Mazi in Kilis contributed to this report. -



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