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Earthquake in Turkey. Polish firefighters from the HUSAR group will take part in a rescue mission

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Polish firefighters will take part in a rescue mission after the earthquake in Turkey, which took place on Monday morning. Before 10 p.m., a group of 76 firefighters and eight dogs specializing in work in the rubble land flew to the site. The head of the State Fire Service, Brigadier General Andrzej Bartkowiak, at a press conference in the afternoon, announced that firefighters will land at the airport in Gaziantep, a city near the epicenter of the tremors.

Earthquakes shook Turkey, Syria and Lebanon on Monday morning. The earthquake had a magnitude between 7.4 and 7.8. There are more and more deaths every hour. According to the latest information, more than 2,000 people have died in Turkey alone.

Around 21.40, the plane with members of the HUSAR Poland search and rescue group on board flew out of the military airport in in Warsaw. 76 PSP firefighters and eight trained dogs will take part in the rescue and search operation in Turkey, which has been affected by the cataclysm.

Five paramedics also flew to the site, 20 tons of equipment were taken. The Polish group took with them search equipment, equipment to expand the camp and to stabilize the structures of damaged buildings.

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PSP chief commander: we are landing at the airport that will be as close as possible to the quake

– We go and fly to save people – said Brigadier General Andrzej Bartkowiak, chief commander of the State Fire Service, at a press conference in the afternoon. He reminded that the first trip of the State Fire Service firefighters was in 1999, also to Turkey. – Today history has come full circle, today we are going to Turkey to save again. We’ll go with the best we’ve got. We are one of the best search and rescue groups in the world, he said.

– We are the only ones to land in the epicenter, at the airport that will be as close as possible to this event – ​​he said. He confirmed that it was the airport in Gaziantep, in the southern part of Turkey. The epicenter of the quake was about 30 kilometers from the city. – We can be proud of these people, they will represent us well and with dignity. They will do their best to save as many people as possible. “We are very, very needed there,” he added.

The head of the State Fire Service informed that a team of Polish firefighters would work “non-stop in two places at a time for seven days”. “These are the estimated possibilities, and these are the estimated abilities of humans to survive in such a rubble, where temperatures drop to low levels” – he explained. The temperature in the region hovers around zero degrees Celsius.

Conference of Polish firefighters before departure to TurkeyTVN24

“We will most likely hit the hardest places”

– We must remember that time is extremely important, which is why the reaction of Polish groups was so quick. Six hours is a record. We have probably never been able to organize and fly out so quickly, because we know how much help they need there – assessed the general.

According to General Bartkowiak, it will be one of the most difficult actions in the history of the HUSAR group. – The scale of the damage, but also our huge commitment and experience will most likely cause us to reach the most difficult places – he said.

>>> READ MORE: Turkey, Syria. A very strong earthquake. Killed and wounded

Conference of Polish firefighters before departure to TurkeyTVN24

Help to the Turkish authorities in the rescue mission was offered by the head of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, Mariusz Kamiński, which he announced on Twitter in the morning.

“Due to the earthquake in Turkey and the appeal of the Turkish authorities for help, I proposed sending a heavy search and rescue group of the HUSAR of the State Fire Service Headquarters to the site,” Kamiński wrote.

“The offer of help from Polish firefighters from the HUSAR group has been accepted” – he later said on social media to the head of the State Fire Service. “We are still helping today,” he added.

Help of Polish firefighters

What will the help of Polish firefighters look like?

– Our work will consist in searching the rubble for injured and missing people who may be trapped. We have equipment, knowledge and experience from previous years, because we have been on various missions outside our country – said on TVN24 junior brigadier Grzegorz Borowiec from KW PSP, who will go to Turkey. – We know how to locate injured people, we have the equipment and specially trained dogs for this – he noted.

– We are prepared to start operations immediately after landing. We have four teams in our entire group that typically deal with searching. For this we have all the logistics and team to coordinate. We are already starting to coordinate our activities with other rescue groups before our arrival, Borowiec said. – As far as we know, the Dutch group has also received confirmation of accepting the offer of assistance, Romania is still waiting for information. This response will be considerable – added the junior brigadier.

How are missing people searched? – We have specially trained dogs that are able to locate injured people alive. We also have geophones, i.e. devices that help us hear small knocks or calls. These may be calls that are normally inaudible to the human ear. These devices are able to locate such an injured person under the rubble. First, with the help of such equipment, we locate, then we try to get to such a person – he explained.

Grzegorz Borowiec from the Fire Brigade Headquarters on Turkey's help in searching for missing people

Grzegorz Borowiec from the Fire Brigade Headquarters on Turkey’s help in searching for missing people TVN24, Reuters

“Immediate help is needed in almost every corner of this town”

– Magnitude 7.8 is a very strong quake that can destroy buildings, individual floors collapse or entire structures collapse. Unfortunately, it ended up in an urbanized area inhabited by people – said Karol Kierzkowski, spokesman for the chief commander of the State Fire Service on TVN24.

– This is a very difficult situation for rescuers, for this area affected by the earthquake, because immediate help is needed in almost every corner of this town – he added. – Poland (to Turkey’s request for help – editor’s note) responded very quickly, almost immediately. We are ready, we are able to organize such a heavy search and rescue group – he admitted.

Karol Kierzkowski about the help of the Polish group of firefighters

Karol Kierzkowski about the help of the Polish group of firefightersTVN24, Reuters

Firefighters from Lodz are preparing to go to Turkey

Firefighters from Lodz are preparing to go to TurkeyTVN24

Condolences from the Polish government

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. In these difficult times, Turkey can count on Poland,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Twitter.

The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau, turned to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

“Accept my sincerest condolences in connection with the earthquake in south-eastern Turkey. We join in pain with the families of the victims and the entire Turkish Nation. We wish the victims a speedy recovery. Poland is already sending help and support!” Rau wrote.

Condolences were also sent on the official profile of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We extend our sincerest condolences to the families and relatives of the victims of the earthquake in south-eastern Turkey. We wish all those affected a speedy recovery. We would like to provide our support during this difficult time,” reads the entry published on Monday morning.

Main photo source: PAP/Leszek Szymanski



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