PH to send 85-person response team to Turkey—Marcos

An 85-man team will leave for Turkey on Wednesday, Feb. 8, to bring assistance to those heavily affected by the strong earthquake in the foreign country.

Rescue workers and volunteers search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building, in Sanliurfa, Turkey, on February 6, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's south-east. (REMI BANET / AFP)

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday that the government has already assembled a response team of engineers and health workers.

The group is composed of personnel from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), among others.

"We organized a group of about 85 personnel together with some goods," Marcos said in an interview on the sidelines of the national tax campaign kick-off ceremony.

The President said among the essential goods the team will be bringing to Turkey would include blankets and winter clothing which will be distributed to displaced families.

He also revealed that the government has received a commitment from the Turkish airways to carry the response team and their equipment to Turkey.

"I already have the assurance also of the Turkish airways that they will be the ones to bring our people and our equipment and our goods to I suppose Ankara first and to be distributed properly in Turkey," Marcos said.

"We are looking to have our group leave by tomorrow night para makahabol naman sila (so that they could catch up)," Marcos added, stressing that the help they would bring is crucial amid the danger posed by aftershocks.

The Turkish Embassy in Manila has earlier sought assistance in the form of emergency medical and urban search and rescue teams.

Marcos has offered thoughts, prayers, and assistance to Turkey and Syria after hundreds of people were killed in a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck both sides of the border on Monday.

"Our thoughts and prayers go to the peoples and governments of Türkiye and Syria following the strong earthquake that has claimed many lives and caused massive destruction to their countries," the President said.

"The Philippines is ready to help in whatever way it can in responding to this disaster," the chief executive added.

Reports showed that the strong earthquake was Turkey’s most severe earthquake since 1999.