Philippines aids quake
victims in Türkiye
The Philippines sent an 82-member team to Türkiye to help earthquake victims. Filipino rescuers and medical personnel have been working under extreme cold weather conditions in one of the most devastated places in Türkiye.
Türkiye’s ambassador to the Philippines, Niyazi Evren Akyol on Monday, February 13, thanked the Philippine government and the Filipino people for sending people and resources to aid his country following a massive earthquake that left thousands of people dead and reduced many homes and infrastructure to rubble.
The envoy expressed his country’s gratitude to the Filipino people after Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez turned over USD100,000 in financial assistance for Türkiye earthquake victims.
“You know in an event like this, it’s very good to know you have your friends on your side,” said Ambassador Akyol.
Amid the disaster, Akyol said the people of Türkiye are consoled by the fact that the international community has come out strong to help them, with 99 countries helping date.
“And we have on the ground almost 10,400 rescue workers, and of course the Philippines is one of the major contributors,” Akyol said.
He noted that within 48 hours of the disaster, there was a Philippine search and rescue and medical team of 82 young Filipino “heroes” in Türkiye, braving extreme cold to help.
The Turkish government is very thankful because the Philippine contingent was the first medical team that responded four days after the incident.
In response, Romualdez said the people of the Philippines will continue to support the emergency and relief operations in Türkiye.
“The Filipino people have benefitted so much from the compassion of Turkish volunteers,” said the Speaker, as he recalled the assistance sent by Türkiye after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck Leyte and many parts of Eastern Samar in November 2013.
“We will be here with you as Türkiye was always with us in Haiyan – Yolanda – and all the other disasters,” Romualdez said.
Philippine team provided medical, humanitarian aid
Collapsed buildings, piles atop piles of rubble, and debris lying all around.
This is what the 82-member Philippine Inter-Agency Contingent (PHIAC) to Türkiye saw during their search and rescue operation in the hope of finding victims under the rubble. The PHIAC has swept through 20 buildings destroyed by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in search for survivors in Adiyaman as of Sunday, February 12.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said the PHIAC has also set up the Philippine Emergency Medical Assistance Team (PEMAT) field hospital in Adiyaman.
Since starting operations, the PEMAT field hospital has catered to ambulatory cases and referrals requiring hospitalization, serving 14 patients on Saturday and 41 more on February 12.
Dr. Alfonso Danac, PEMAT team leader who joined the press briefing virtually from Türkiye, said the PHIAC has been working very hard to help earthquake victims despite the many challenges. Danac explained that Filipino rescuers and medical personnel have been working under extreme cold weather conditions in one of the most devastated places in Türkiye.
He said the language barrier is also a problem, but the people of Adiyaman are very thankful for the help being provided by the PHIAC, the first such response team to reach their area.
The PHIAC team consisted of 525th Engineering Combat Battalion and Philippine Air Force members who are capable of conducting search and rescue in high angle, collapsed structures, confined spaces, with rapid response as main responders in the National Capital Region. The Department of Health also sent a 30-member emergency medical teams trained to treat chronic illnesses, high blood pressure, asthma, and to ensure water sanitation for patients and their teams and provide psychosocial services to survivors.
The OCD said the Filipino responders brought with them 13,412 kilos of cargo composed of medical supplies and equipment; field hospital tents and personnel shelter; search, rescue and retrieval equipment; food rations and engineering tools and equipment.
The OCD procured 11,205 blankets, 5,000 bonnets and 420 gloves that were delivered to Turkish Airways cargo with the items now stored at the Incirlik Air Base in Adana.
The Philippine contingent is expected to stay in the quake-hit nation for two weeks.
Second Philippine contingent canceled
On Monday, February 13, OCD said Ankara will not accept a second contingent from Manila to help in operations in the aftermath of the powerful earthquake.
Asked for the reason of the Turkish government, Alejandro said the so-called element of “life-saving time” has already lapsed.
The Turkish embassy in the Philippines indicated its preference to receive donations in the form of medical devices, medications and medical consumables.