Mexico Sends Humanitarian Aid to Turkey and Syria
The Mexican government announced that its rescue team sent to Turkey has saved five people and is expected to return soon. In addition, the administration will donate US$6 million to Syria through the UN so that aid reaches all affected areas of the country.
On Feb. 6, 2023, two earthquakes of magnitude 7.8 and 7.5, just 12 hours apart, struck southern Turkey, near the Syrian border. According to government data, 41,000 deaths have been officially reported, of which 35,418 were in Turkey and at least 5,800 in Syria. These earthquakes are considered one of the worst natural disasters of the century for both countries.
In the same week, Mexico’s Minister of National Defense Luis Cresencio Sandoval announced that the Mexican government would send 150 people to Turkey to support search and rescue efforts. The group is composed of 90 elements of the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA), 37 members of the Navy, 15 members of the Red Cross and five diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE).
The Turkish government allocated 70 buildings to the Mexican team for their research and resource-related tasks. According to the latest data, the Mexican brigade found five people in collapsed buildings. However, three had already died.
Sandoval emphasized that the timeframe to find people alive in the rubble has passed, so the Mexican rescue team is expected to return shortly. "Their return depends on the evacuation of the various forces from different countries. As soon as they can leave, they will. Hopefully, they will be on their return flight tomorrow," Sandoval said.
In addition, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard informed that the Mexican government will donate US$6 million to support Syria. "According to the government's instructions, contact was established with the UN, which already called us to explain the process for the deposit of the US$6 million."
Experts explained that the civil war raging in Syria complicates efforts to send aid and rescuers. One of the cities most affected by the earthquake, Aleppo, is contested by the government and rebel forces, so aid remains restricted. According to regional media, it was not until February 10 that the Syrian government granted the international community access to help victims in rebel-held areas.
Moreover, the UN and the international community have not managed to supply any heavy machinery or other specialized equipment, which has impeded Syria’s largest civil defense and rescue organization, the White Helmets, to perform rescue operations. According to the UN, 8.8 million people were hit and 7,400 buildings across Syria have been destroyed. In areas under government control, where 1,414 deaths have been reported so far, the situation is similar.