Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that Greece would be offering help to neighbor and rival Turkey and to Syria after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck earlier on Monday 23km east of the Nurdagi district in Gaziantep, leading to the deaths of at least 1,800 people and thousands injured.
“Deeply saddened by the devastating earthquake disaster in Turkey and Syria. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the victims and our thoughts are with all the people affected. Greece is mobilizing its resources and will assist immediately,” said Mitsotakis, who discussed the issue during an emergency teleconference earlier today.
The priority, said Mitsotakis, is to rescue and save of as many people as possible from the rubble. “This is a job that due to experience we also know quite well and we will have to see what other equipment, medical equipment, blankets, tents, the Turkish people may ask of us so that we can send,” he said.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) appealed for international aid earlier today.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that 45 countries have offered to help in the search and rescue efforts as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) which has deployed emergency medical teams and the European Union which is sending rescue teams. Among others, Greece has dispatched search and rescue teams, equipment and a special disaster unit (EMAK).
“We support in every way the efforts to deal with the consequences of the devastating earthquake with the aim of saving lives,” Greek Minister for the Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Christos Stylianides said on Twitter. His tweet included a photo of Greece’s EMAK team, ready to depart Elefsina to provide aid to earthquake victims in Turkey.
📍Στο αεροδρόμιο Ελευσίνας
H 🇬🇷 αποστολή έτοιμη για αναχώρηση για παροχή βοήθειας στους σεισμόπληκτους #Τουρκία
🇬🇷 Συνδράμουμε με κάθε τρόπο στις προσπάθειες αντιμετώπισης συνεπειών του καταστροφικού σεισμού με στόχο να σωθούν ζωές
— Χρήστος Στυλιανίδης – Christos Stylianides (@StylianidesEU) February 6, 2023
According to CNN, at least 1,121 people have so far died in Turkey and over 800 in Syria. Thousands are injured as aftershocks continued into the day.
The first earthquake, registering 7.8 on the Richter scale, is the most powerful to strike the region in the last century, experts said.
“Following the devastating earthquake in Southern Turkey, I communicated with my Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and I conveyed my condolences to the grieving families. I expressed Greece’s readiness to provide assistance immediately in the rescue efforts and coping with the damage,” said Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou also expressed her condolences via her twitter account: “Overwhelmed by the images of destruction caused by earthquake in Turkey and Syria. On behalf of the Greek people and myself, I express my condolences to the families of the victims. We stand in solidarity, support the work of the rescue teams, and wish speedy recovery to the injured.”
Other countries sending aid include Azerbaijan, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Iran, Israel, Egypt, UK, and Ukraine.