2 Filipinos confirmed dead in Turkey quake

(UPDATE) THE Philippine embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on Friday confirmed that the two Filipinos died in the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria last February 6.

“It is with deepest regret that the Embassy must inform the public of the passing of two Filipinos. Both were earlier reported to be missing in Antakya,” the embassy said on its official Facebook account.

Antakya in Hatay province is one of the hardest-hit cities by the quake.

The tremor has killed close to 23,000 people in the two countries.

“The embassy and the consulate general express their deepest condolences and are in coordination with the victims' families in both the Philippines and in Turkey,” it added.

The embassy also confirmed reports that a Filipino earlier said to be missing in Antakya was found alive.

The embassy has already evacuated more than 10 Filipino families who are now on their way to Ankara where they will be temporarily sheltered.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday expressed “deep regret” on the death of the two Filipinos who died in Monday's earthquake.

In a statement, the President said the Philippine embassy is working “tirelessly” to verify and consolidate information on Filipinos affected by the quake.

The Philippines has deployed an 85-man team to assist in search, rescue and relief operations in Turkey.

The contingent arrived Thursday in Istanbul and was transported to the city of Adiyaman.

The team is expected to stay in Adiyaman for at least two weeks.

Philippine Contingent. Photo from MMDA FB page

Philippine Contingent. Photo from MMDA FB page
Philippine Contingent. Photo from MMDA FB page

The contingent is made up of 33 personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines; 21 from the Army's 525th Engineer Combat Battalion; 51st Engineer Brigade; 12 from the Air Force 505th Search and Rescue Group; two from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD); nine from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA); eight from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority; and 30 emergency medical technicians (EMTs) from the Department of Health, including winter clothing and sleeping kits.

“We are working immediately. This is not a vacation, this is serious work, immediate search and rescue,” Office of Civil Defense deputy administrator for operations Assistant Secretary Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro 4th said in a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo Friday.

The members of the team were assigned areas that they will work on and were given an initial two hours to conduct their operation.

“Our team in Turkey is well coordinated with the Turkish government and with our embassy officials. This strong coordination facilitated the smooth arrival and operations in the designated area in Turkey, thereby ensuring the adherence to international standards,” Alejandro said.

Several members of the contingent were not able to join the mission to Turkey due to a lack of required travel documents.

Alejandro said the Philippine government deployed “the most experienced, qualified, and competent” team. “They are not merely volunteers. We made sure that those we sent are well-trained, well-equipped because this is serious work,” he said.

Alejandro also said the Philippines is already preparing for the deployment of another contingent to Turkey, although it is still subject to the President's approval and acceptance of the Turkish government.

Alejandro said the OCD met with agencies, which also want to send teams to Turkey.

Among the agencies are the Philippine National Police, the governments of Davao City and Pasig City, and the Bangsamoro autonomous region.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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