nsnbc : A Turkish military cargo plane carrying medical supplies and a search and rescue team landed in Sulaimani in Iraq’s earthquake stricken Kurdistan Autonomous Region on Monday, Turkey’s Health Minister Ahmet Demircan confirmed.

Turkey’s Health Minister Ahmet Demircan stressed that the aid had not been sent on Baghdad’s request but on Ankara’s own initiative; A gesture that has been warmly appreciated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The death toll after the magnitude 7.3 earthquake with its epicenter near Halabja on the Iraq – Iran border is in the hundreds while thousands have been injured. At least seven in Suleimani died while 300 injured have been hospitalized there.

The military cargo plane was loaded with “A 20-strong search team and another medical team of 10 from the Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), two vehicles, 60 tents, 320 blankets and medical supplies.”

Turkish government officials said earlier on Monday that they were looking into the possibility of resuming flights to airports in Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region (KAR) which had been closed by Iraq’s central government in response to the independence referendum on September 25.

Turkey_Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) and the Red Crescent_Nov 2017  - Turkey Disaster Management Agency AFAD and the Red Crescent Nov 2017 300x230 - Turkish plane with medical supplies for earthquake victims search and rescue team lands in Sulaimani

“Turkey stands with the brotherly victims of the earthquake,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in a statement on Sunday night, adding his country was “greatly saddened” by casualties.

The Turkish Red Crescent also announced it was sending supplies from warehouses in Adana, Mus and Elazig to Erbil. The aid includes 3,000 tents, 10,000 blankets, a mobile kitchen, 3,000 heaters and 10,000 beds. The shipment will be delivered to Erbil and the aid organization will work with its Iraqi and Iranian counterparts, it added.

“Our pioneering teams from [Erbil] and Silopi warehouses are on their way. We estimate that about 20-30 thousand people are affected by the earthquake,” the Turkish Red Crescent quoted the organization’s vice president, Dr. Kerem Kinik as saying.

CH/L – nsnbc 13.11.2017



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