UK sends life saving support to earthquake-hit Turkey and Syria

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Members of the UK's International Search & Rescue Team prepare their kit ahead of commencing search & rescue operations following the earthquake. Photo credit: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

The UK government is today (Wednesday 8 February) announcing further support to Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquakes.

The UK will provide vital items such as tents and blankets to help survivors cope with the freezing conditions, as part of its immediate response to the crisis. 

The equipment being urgently deployed from the UK’s stockpile will meet the needs of up to 15,000 people.

The UK is also providing a world-class team of UK medics with surgical capabilities and equipment to provide vital emergency treatment.

The announcement comes in the critical 72 hours following the first earthquake. The support will be used to urgently provide life saving interventions to those who need it most in the region as temperatures plummet.

The UK is coordinating closely with the Turkish government and United Nations (UN) in Syria to ensure our support meets the needs on the ground and that we can stay responsive to emerging needs in the coming days.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

The UK is sending life saving kit to Turkey and Syria. This will include vital medical expertise and hygiene kits and also tents and blankets to help people keep warm and sheltered in the terrible freezing conditions they are having to endure on top of the devastation of the earthquakes.

Our priority is to ensure life saving assistance is given to those most in need, coordinated with the Turkish government, UN and international partners.

The UK is prioritising what the Turkish government and UN are asking for. The additional support will save lives by bringing world-class UK expertise and equipment to the region.

This £8 million of additional support comes after a team of 77 UK search and rescue specialists, equipment and four search dogs arrived in Gaziantep yesterday to begin their life saving operations.

UK Search and Rescue Team – Photo credit: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Their specialist skills and state-of-the-art heavy duty equipment will allow the UK team to cut their way into buildings and locate survivors in the rubble during this vital time.

UK Search and Rescue Team with 4 search dogs now in Turkey. Photo credit: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

The government says it remains in contact with British humanitarian workers in the affected areas, and we stand ready to assist any British nationals affected.

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