UK sending ‘life-saving’ equipment to Turkey and Syria following earthquake

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The UK is sending “life-saving” equipment to Turkey and Syria following the earthquake which has killed over 11,000 people.

The 7.8 magnitude quake hit southern Turkey in the early hours of Monday, followed by powerful aftershocks, reducing thousands of buildings across the country and northern Syria to rubble as people slept.

The UK Government announced on Wednesday that it was providing thousands of medical kits, tents and blankets to help survivors amid freezing temperatures in both countries.

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, co-ordinated with the Turkish government, UN and international partners.”

The UK is also sending medics, having already flown a team of 76 search-and-rescue specialists, complete with state-of-the-art equipment and four specially trained dogs to the countries.

Middle East earthquake
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the Government’s priority was to ensure life-saving assistance was given to those most in need (Yui Mok/PA)

Jeremy Smith, manager for the Red Cross’s Middle East division, said the earthquake had created a “nightmare worst-case scenario” in Syria.

He told the PA news agency that since the first hours of the earthquake, Red Cross teams had mobilised ambulances and search and rescue staff and volunteers, and ensured that vital resources were being delivered to those who needed them – including 25,000 heaters, 30,000 blankets, 2,000 tents and more than half-a-million food items so far.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Over 11,000 people have died as a result of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria. And that number is sadly rising. And I know many families here in the UK will be anxiously awaiting news.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded: “Can I first join with the honourable member for paying our respects and thoughts to the people of Turkey and Syria, particularly those affected by the earthquake and the first responders who are doing such a valiant job?

“The House will be reassured to know that we are in touch with the Turkish and Syrian authorities and providing all assistance that they have required of us, including 77 search and rescue responders that arrived yesterday and have already begun work.

“And I spoke to the president yesterday to ensure that we are in close communication.”

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