SEPANG, Feb 8 – Tracker dogs Denti and Frankie have been included in the search and rescue (SAR) mission of the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) for earthquake victims in southern Turkiye.
The second batch of rescuers from Malaysia comprises 20 Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) personnel, JBPM (30) and 30 members of the Civil Defence Force (APM).
“The purpose of us bringing these tracker dogs is to maximise the (rescue) effort when we are there as their role is to find the victims’ locations.
“The dogs are part of SMART, so they are ready to be deployed anywhere abroad,” JBPM’s Tactical Operations Rescue Team of Malaysia (STORM) chief commander Ismail Abd Ghani told reporters during the SAR mission send-off at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport here, tonight.
Ismail said the dogs were trained to find victims, alive or deceased.
Asked if Denti and Frankie could survive the 11-hour flight to Istanbul, he said it was not an issue with the dogs as they had been assessed for their ability to travel by air before their procurement.
He said Denti and Frankie were involved in the SAR operations of the landslide tragedy at Father’s Organic Farm campsite, Batang Kali in December, adding that for this mission they would be handled by firemen Tony Anak Albert Mani and Y.Thibagaran.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Duties) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali said the canines were included in the mission to ensure the Malaysian rescue team can carry out SAR operations more effectively.
On the first rescue team that has arrived in Gaziantep, Armizan said the team is now facing several formidable obstacles, namely the extreme weather at ground zero, logistics and transport coordination as well as geopolitical security factors.
“Nevertheless, the spirit of all the members involved remains high and the challenges faced have been addressed with the cooperation of the Turkiye Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
“I also want to call on Malaysians to pray for the safety of the SMART team so that they can perform their duties as best as possible,” he said.
On Monday, Malaysia sent the first team of 70 SMART personnel to Turkiye.
Three media practitioners, namely a crime desk reporter with the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) Mohd Firdaus Md Saisi and photographer Hairul Nizam Baharin as well as Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) cameraman Mohd Adzam Jamaluddin, are also part of the rescue team to cover the latest news on ground zero.
Mohd Firdaus said that although this is his first overseas assignment, he is determined to do his best for Malaysians.
“I am thrilled to be given the chance to cover a disaster abroad and I understand that the situation there is still risky.
“I have been assigned together with a photographer for 10 days and we will provide the best and latest coverage of the situation there,” he said.
Earlier, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in a press conference after chairing the Cabinet meeting today said Malaysia will also donate over US$2 million (over RM8.6 million) to Turkiye and Syria to help the earthquake victims in both countries.
Anwar said the Defence Ministry was also assembling a team of military doctors and paramedics to mobilise a field hospital in Turkiye.
The strong 7.8 -magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkiye and northwestern Syria early Monday morning killing thousands of people in the two countries. The tremors were reported to have been felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.
The death toll from the devastating earthquake in southern Turkiye has risen to 7,108 and 40,910 others are injured so far.
Turkiye on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 provinces – Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Sanliurfa to ensure the smooth running of search and rescue missions.