Wednesday, March 22nd | 29 Adar 5783

February 9, 2023 5:51 pm

Israeli Teams Rescue 17 People From Rubble of Turkey Quakes

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A member of Israel’s disaster relief team dispatched to southern Turkey following two major earthquakes in February 2023. Photo: IDF

Israeli personnel rescued 17 people from the devastation wrought by two powerful earthquakes in Turkey as of Thursday, the military said, with disaster relief crews continuing to race against time, poor weather, and a climbing death toll.

According to local authorities, more than 21,000 people in Turkey and Syria were killed and over 78,000 injured after two major tremors — registering magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 on the Richter scale — struck on Monday in southern provinces near the Syrian border. Rescue efforts are ongoing, with Turkish and international search-and-rescue teams racing in poor weather conditions to locate and extract those trapped for days under debris.

Israel joined relief efforts on Monday, with some 400 personnel on the ground and more than 150 tons of humanitarian aid send to southern Turkey so far, and “much more” on the way, according to Nadav Markman, deputy chief of mission of Israel in Turkey. The IDF has also established a field hospital in Kahramanmaraş, the epicenter of the second quake.

Footage released by the IDF on Thursday showed Israeli personnel rescuing a 65-year-old man from the rubble. Maj. (res.) Matan Shen, commander of the IDF Search and Rescue Team, recounted one operation on Wednesday that culminated in the rescue of a 23-year-old woman.

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“At 9pm, my team and I were heading to a site of destruction,” said Shen. “On the way we were called by locals who heard noises from within the ruins. We began a complex 4.5 hour long rescue mission that included a great deal of engineering work, and the work of a doctor and paramedics.”

“At the end, a 23-year-old woman was rescued, healthy and safe, only with a fractured pelvis,” the commander said of the rescue, which was partially caught on video. “She was evacuated and returned to her fiancé.”

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