U.S. search and rescue teams set to arrive in Turkey
Two U.S. Agency for
International Development teams will arrive Wednesday morning in
Turkey and will head to the southeastern province of Adiyaman to
focus on urban search and rescue following earthquakes that
killed more than 6,300 people and left a trail of destruction in
Turkey and neighboring Syria.
USAID's disaster assistance response team leader for the
earthquake response, Stephen Allen, told reporters on Tuesday
the teams will be about 80 people each and also bring 12 dogs
and 170,000 pounds of specialized tools and equipment, including
for triage and concrete breaking.
The U.S. military aircraft carrying the teams and equipment
were to land at Incirlik Air Base in the southern Turkish
province of Adana and deploy immediately to hard-hit urban
centers to save as many people as possible, Allen said.
"They really do work 24/7, they work in shifts, they go
around the clock, because every hour does count in the first few
days," Allen said.
The 7.8 magnitude quake, followed hours later by a
second one almost as powerful, destroyed thousands of homes,
leaving people homeless in close to freezing temperatures.
Scores more are thought to be still trapped under the collapsed
President Joe Biden spoke to Turkish President Tayyip
Erdogan on Monday to offer condolences and reaffirm Washington's
readiness to assist in rescue efforts. U.S. Secretary of State
Antony Blinken told his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu to
"pick up the phone and let us know" what Washington can do to
Allen said Washington expected more funding would be
needed in the coming days in both Turkey and Syria, which has
also been heavily impacted by the earthquake, and that the U.S.
government was speaking to partners about additional aid.
Aid officials voiced particular concern about Syria,
already afflicted by a humanitarian crisis after nearly 12 years
of civil war.