ISTANBUL (Turkiye), Feb 9 – The second Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART), deployed to Turkiye, safely arrived at Istanbul Airport here at 11 this morning (6 am Istanbul time).
The arrival of the second rescue team, under the supervision of the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), was greeted by the Malaysian Ambassador to Turkiye, Sazali Mustafa Kamal.
The team, consisting of 72 personnel from SMART and the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM), left for Turkiye at midnight last night (Malaysian time), on a Turkish Airline flight, to participate in the search and rescue (SAR) mission for earthquake victims in that country.
Also joining the team were three media personnel, two from the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) and a cameraman from Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).
The team is then scheduled to take a second flight to Gaziantep, which is 1,136 kilometres from Istanbul.
On Feb 6, Malaysia sent the first SMART team, comprising a medical team from the Royal Health Corps (KKD) and the K9 Unit of the JBPM), and a special hazardous chemical (Hazmat) team, to assist the earthquake SAR mission in southern Turkiye as a sign of solidarity.
A strong earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, hit southern Turkiye and northwestern Syria on Monday, claiming thousands of lives in both countries. The effects of the earthquake were also reported to be felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.
The death toll from the devastating earthquake in southern Turkiye has risen to at least 7,108, while the number of injured is 40,910 people thus far.
On Tuesday, Turkiye declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 provinces – Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Sanliurf – to ensure the smooth running of search and rescue missions.