The first team of 42 Thai rescue workers, from the Department of Public Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, will leave Bangkok for Turkey tonight (Thursday) to help in rescue and relief operations, following the devastating earthquake, according to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The Thai Government has also donated five million baht in relief aid to Turkey through the Turkish ambassador in Thailand, while Prime Minister Prayut has expressed condolences to the Turkish Government and people over the tragedy.
The team of rescuers will be taking rescue equipment, relief materials and medical supplies.
More than 15,000 people in Turkey and Syria are believed to have died in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Monday and the death toll is still rising.
The 42-member Thai search and rescue team going to Turkey is part of a 50-nation rescue operation, organised by the United Nations, according to Lerpong Suansang, head of the team from the Department of Public Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
In an interview with Thai PBS today, Lerpong said that this is the first overseas mission for the team, known as Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Thailand, and they will spend 10 days in Turkey.
The team consists of rescue workers, sniffer dogs, medical personnel and coordinators. It is divided into:
- coordination with the UN or Turkish officials in affected areas
- search operations with the sniffer dogs
- rescue operations
- logistics support and medical services
Lerpong said that it is not clear yet to where the Thai team will be sent adding, however, that the team is qualified and meets the UN standard.
He admitted that the main concern of this mission are aftershocks, which are unpredictable and can happen any time. They, therefore, need to prepare tents and camps for accommodation, as sleeping in buildings may not be safe. The team must also prepare for the cold weather as well, he said.
Regarding the death of a Thai woman in the earthquake, the prime minister has expressed condolences to the victim’s family and ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to coordinate with Turkish officials to make arrangements for the decedent and to help about 30 Thai nationals who are currently living in temporary shelters.
Thai people in Turkey affected by the earthquake can contact the Thai Embassy by phone in case of emergency or via the Facebook page around the clock.
Meanwhile, their relatives in Thailand can also contact the Department of Consular Affairs by calling 02-572-8442.
Thais who plan to visit Turkey are advised to register through the following link, to ensure help is available in case of an emergency: https://forms.gle/BKZJXYj7MFdDHZ3t6.