Operation Dost: Know more about India’s Aid to Turkey & Syria

TNI Bureau: Following the massive earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria on 6 February 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed that all possible assistance be extended to the affected people.

In pursuance of this, Operation Dost was launched to provide necessary support in terms of search and rescue (SAR) efforts as well as medical assistance. This has involved a whole-of-government approach with coordination among various agencies. This swift response led to the first C-17 IAF aircraft with a specialized SAR team leaving for Türkiye within hours of a request of assistance being received.

Since then, India has been able to send more than 250 personnel, specialized equipment and other relief material amounting to more than 14 tons to Türkiye on 5 C-17 IAF aircrafts.

These include three self sustained teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) numbering more than 150 specially trained personnel, along with dog squads, specialized equipment, vehicles and supplies. Their equipment allows for detection, location, access and extrication of people trapped under collapsed structures.

In addition, personnel and equipment have been sent to set up a 30-bed self-sustained field hospital of the Indian Army. This includes a team of 99 specially trained personnel, with essential medicines, advanced equipment, vehicles and ambulances. The hospital will provide for a fully functional Operation Theatre, and facilities such as X-ray, ventilators, etc.

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The deployment of our teams in Türkiye is being coordinated with the local authorities through our Embassy, which has set up a Camp Office at Adana. The NDRF teams are rendering assistance in rescue operations at Gaziantep while the medical team is setting up the Field Hospital in Iskenderun.

A team of officials of Ministry of External Affairs, two of which are Turkish speaking officers, have been deployed to Türkiye to assist the teams involved in rescue and relief operations.

The Indian Embassy is also ascertaining the well-being of Indian nationals in the affected region, particularly in Adana, Gaziantep, Malatya and Kahramanmaras provinces of Türkiye, which have been the most affected due to earthquake. Embassy has also set up a Help Desk. While serious logistical constraints such as road conditions, inclement weather and the ongoing rescue operations limit options, our officials are reaching out to some ten Indian nationals who are reportedly stranded. Efforts are also ongoing to trace a missing national.

As regards Syria, more than 6 tons of emergency relief assistance has been delivered through a C130J IAF aircraft to Damascus. The consignment includes medicines for emergency use, fluids for hydration, protective gear, general use medicines and medical equipment like ECG machine, patient monitor etc.

The consignment was received by the Deputy Minister of Local Administration and Environment of Syria, H.E. Mr. Moutaz Douaji at Damascus airport.

India stands committed to extend all possible support to those affected by this devastating earthquake. Operation Dost is India’s latest expression of being a first responder, a net security provider, and a country whose Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) response is quick and available to countries not only in the neighbouring region, but also beyond.

According to reports, the death toll due to the Turkey-Syria earthquakes has risen to more than 15,000. At least 12,391 people were killed in Turkey while at least 2,992 people died in Syria.

Similarly, over 20,000 others were injured in the earthquakes.

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