Shafaq News/ The Kurdistan region has mobilized three search-and-rescue teams to Turkey in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes which hit Turkey and Syria on Monday and have claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Yesterday, Kurdistan's Prime Minister Masrour Barzani instructed the region's health ministry to aid rescue efforts in Turkey and Syria.
"In solidarity with victims of the earthquake, I have instructed government bodies, the Health Ministry, and the Barzani Charity Foundation to collaborate with the Red Crescent and assist in rescue efforts in Turkey and Syria," he tweeted yesterday, "as of now, three rescue teams backed by 25 ambulances have been organized."
Earlier today, KRG spokesperson Jutiar Adel said that 83 Healthcare providers, in addition to 30 physicians, headed to Turkey today to offer assistance in the medical care to the quake's victims.
"We also sent 24 ambulances and four trucks loaded with supplies to Turkey and Syria," he said, adding that KRG launched today a new campaign to help relieve the quake-hit areas in both countries.
Minister of Health, Saman Barzanji, told Shafaq News Agency that the dispatched teams had arrived in the quake-stricken area with a repertoire of medical drugs, supplies, and equipment.
In a press conference he held earlier today, Barzanji said that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had sent more than 20 tons of medical supplies and equipment to Turkey.
"Pharmaceuticals and drug stores from the private sector have commendably participated in the campaign," he said.
"Turkey officially asked for assistance. We are working to send aid to Syria. However, there are certain challenges we have to overcome. We do not discriminate between the two countries," he said when asked about aid sent to Syria.
"The Kurdistan Regional Government was among the first responders to the assistance calls in both Syria and Turkey," he said, pledging further aid in the next few days.
"The region's ministry of interior sent teams from four different departments: the joint crisis center, the civil defense institute, and the civil defense directorates in Erbil and Duhok," the interior ministry's secretary, Hemen Mirani, told Shafaq News Agency.
"The members of the teams are trained and experienced. They will work along with the ministry of health, the Barzani foundation, and other organizations that arrived in Turkey," he explained.
"This is a message of humanity," he concluded, "the moral imperative was a prompt for the region's government to act."
The Barzani foundation is also engaged in the frantic race against time to find more survivors and help the injured. Teams affiliated with the foundation are distributing food and tents to ease the suffering of the victims.
"Our teams relocated in the damaged areas as soon as Prime Minister Masrour Barzani issued the instructions," the head of the foundation, Mousa Ahmed, said, "a team of volunteers will join our staff soon."
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake caused widespread damage across Turkey and northern Syria. More than 19,000 people have been confirmed killed, with numbers expected to rise in the coming days, with the earthquake occurring in the middle of the night and impacting highly populated areas. The region is also experiencing below-freezing temperatures, which create health risks for people who have been displaced due to collapsed and unsafe buildings.