Romania sends aid after earthquake hits southern Turkey
A powerful earthquake, 7.8 in magnitude, hit south-eastern Turkey near the Syrian border on Sunday night. Turkey requested international aid, and Romania sent assistance in reply. A second massive earthquake hit the same region of Turkey on Monday, 12:24 PM Romania time. Istanbul-based Kandilli observatory said the quake had a 7.5 magnitude.
Roughly 1,300 people have so far been confirmed dead in Turkey and Syria as a result of the earthquake, while some 5,300 are injured, according to the latest figures. The number of casualties is expected to rise and may reach 10,000, according to the United States Geological Survey, while economic losses will likely range between USD 1 bln and USD 10 bln.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that it is the worst earthquake since 1939. Turkish Interior Minister Suleymon Soylu, cited by BBC, said 10 cities were affected: Gaziantep, Kahraman Maras, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Diyarbakir, and Kilis.
Following consultation with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, prime minister Nicolae Ciucă convened the National Emergency Committee at the suggestion of the Department for Emergency Situations (DSU). The latter, in its capacity as the national point of contact, has received a request for international assistance from Turkish authorities via the European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC).
“In the wake of the earthquake in Turkey this morning, we have activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The EU’s Emergency Response Coordination center is coordinating the deployment of rescue teams from Europe. Teams from the Netherlands and Romania are already on their way,” said Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, on Twitter.
Following the activation of the European Civil Protection Mechanism, the Romanian government decided to send an RO-USAR team, consisting of specialized intervention personnel from the IGSU, to Turkey. The support offered by the Romanian state has been accepted by the Turkish authorities, according to an official press release.
Two Romanian Air Force transport aircraft, the C-130 Hercules and the C-27J Spartan, will transport materials and the RO-USAR rescue team to Turkey. They will provide urgent support to the population affected by the earthquake that occurred this morning in Turkey, according to a press release from the Ministry of Defense. The Romanian Air Force has carried out similar humanitarian missions in 2011, when another major earthquake took place in Turkey, and in 2019, in Albania.
In related news, the Romanian Embassy in Ankara was contacted via the diplomatic mission's emergency line by a group of Erasmus students, Romanian citizens, who were staying at a hotel in the town of Kahraman Maras, Turkey. The group of Romanian citizens, consisting of nine students and a coordinating teacher, are safe but requested consular assistance and support for repatriation. They will be brought back home.
There have been no other requests for consular assistance in connection with this earthquake or reports from the Turkish authorities regarding affected Romanian citizens.
Turkey lies in one of the world's most active earthquake zones. In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed after a powerful tremor rocked the northwest of the country.
Gaziantep Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Turkey, has been heavily damaged by the earthquake, according to CNN.
(Photo source: screenshot from video on Inspectoratul pentru Situatii de Urgenta's Facebook page)