An aerial view of collapsed buildings during rescue operations in the city of Kahramanmaras, the epicenter of the first 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Monday, in southeastern Turkey on Friday, Feb. 10. 2023. AFP PHOTO

PH team locates 5 quake survivors

THE Office of Civil Defense (OCD) on Sunday said the 82-man Philippine contingent sent to earthquake-devastated Turkey to help in search and rescue operations had found five survivors under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

The team also checked nine buildings and treated 14 outpatients during the last three days, OCD Assistant Secretary Raffy Alejandro said.

Interviewed on radio, Alejandro said the contingent is “in high spirits” and have been coordinating with local authorities.

The team has given assistance to earthquake victims in Adiyaman, a city in southeastern Turkey, he said.

He said the contingent is expected to stay there for the next two weeks.

The team is composed of personnel from the Department of Health, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, and OCD.

The team brought with them a device that can help detect survivors of the magnitude 7.8 tremor that struck parts of Turkey and Syria on February 6.

On Friday, the Philippine Embassy in Ankara confirmed that two Filipinos died in the earthquake.

The House of Representatives has announced it will donate $100,000 to earthquake victims in Turkey.

The funds will come from the Speaker’s Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Initiative which was launched during Speaker Martin Romualdez’s 59th birthday celebration last November 14.

During the event, P70.92 million in cash and pledges for disaster victims were raised. Fire victims in Navotas City, as well as flood victims in Mindanao and Visayas, were beneficiaries.

The financial aid for the quake victims in Turkey will be turned over by Romualdez to Turkey’s Ambassador to the Philippines Niyazi Evren Akyol and his wife, Inddri Puspitarasi, on Monday at his office at the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City.

Turkey was among the first countries to deliver assistance to the victims of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013.

Romualdez said he was sincerely grateful to Turkey for helping Leyte, and most of Eastern Samar, areas that took the brunt of Yolanda.

“The assistance extended by Turkey, the United States and our allies and friends abroad helped ease the pain and suffering of our people,” he said.

In a related development, Quezon City Mayor Maria Josefina “Joy” Belmonte said the city government is willing to provide assistance to Turkey and Syria.

Interviewed by The Manila Times via Viber, Belmonte said the city is ready to provide help once it gets the green light from the national government.

“We are ready once we are mobilized by the national government to be part of our country’s humanitarian team,” she said.

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