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PHL to deploy disaster response specialists and healthcare workers to Turkey

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A 12-man team will be deployed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) while the Department of Health (DOH) said it will be sending 31 health emergency responders to Turkey following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on February 6.

The MMDA personnel will part of the Philippine contingent, with the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Army, and the Philippine Air Force (PAF), among others.

The MMDA team, according to MMDA acting Chairman Romando Artes, is composed of well-trained disaster rescuers who were previously deployed to help in the rescue and retrieval operations in Bohol, Nepal, and Pampanga which were also hit by earthquakes in 2013, 2015, and 2019 respectively.

“The ambassador of Turkey requested the team’s deployment along with rescuers from other concerned government agencies. The contingent will be transported by Turkish Airlines at no cost,” said Artes as he extended sympathy to the people of Turkey affected by the devastating quake. 

The MMDA is in close coordination with the OCD for the transport, logistics requirements, and other preparations necessary for assistance to the earthquake-hit country, Artes added.

“They will bring their experiences to Turkey to contribute support to its disaster response efforts and to express solidarity with the international community. We, the MMDA family, wish our team a safe journey. The country is proud of all of you for this heroic deed.”

The agency will also provide the team’s winter clothes to keep them warm as the temperature in Turkey is at four degrees Celsius. 

The team will stay for an undetermined number of days in Southern Turkey near the Syrian border to assist in the ongoing rescue operations in earthquake affected areas and will bring with them portable search and rescue tools such as life locator and v-strut which can locate victims under rubble of collapsed structures.

The MMDA chief said this mission will be a valuable experience for the team as they will be working alongside rescuers from other countries. The agency, according to Artes, is continuously increasing its capabilities in preparation for the Big One.

Thousands of people died and thousands more were injured across Turkey and Syria from the powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest to hit the region in more than 100 years.

DOH team

The Department of Health (DOH) said that it will be sending 31 health emergency responders as part of the Philippine Inter-Agency Contingent that will be deployed to Turkey following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that recently hit the country.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the 31-man team is composed of health professionals from two DOH Hospitals, namely: Dr. Jose Natalio Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center and Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital. 

“The devastating earthquake in Turkey and its neighboring countries calls for international cooperation, and as ministers of health, it is incumbent upon us that we help other countries in times of disasters and calamities. Many Filipinos are also working there, and we should take our part in helping them survive these trying times,” Vergeire said.

The DOH team is composed of doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and medical professionals.

As part of their deployment, the DOH team, bringing 16 tons of medical and rescue operations equipment, will assist in the ongoing rescue operations in Turkey.

The DOH team will accompany responders from AFP, OCD, MMDA, and SBMA.

“We thank the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Metro Manila Development Authority, Philippine Air Force, and Bureau of Fire Protection for helping the DOH in this initiative. With our continued cooperation, we hope to aid the government of Turkey recover from this ordeal, and we continue to protect health and help save lives,” said Vergeire.

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