Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has revealed that Hungarian rescue units have saved 21 survivors, five children among them, in Turkey in two days after an earthquake killed over 5,000 people.
The foreign minister said two further units arrived in the Hatay region in southeast Turkey on Wednesday. There are now seven units in Turkey with 156 Hungarians working with 28 dogs to rescue people from the rubble. Minister Szijjártó thanked the rescue missions for their work. Earlier on Wednesday, the spokesman of the national disaster management said members of the Hunor team, the first to arrive in Turkey, were working around the clock, in 8-hour shifts, at three sites of the area affected by the disaster. Dániel Mukics said sub-zero temperatures at night were reducing the chances of survival of people buried under the rubble, while the cold was also hindering the team’s work. Speaking to public radio, Tamás Menczer, state secretary at the foreign ministry, said Syria had also requested Hungary’s assistance, adding that two Hungarian hospital units deployed in Syria earlier had been transferred to the earthquake-hit zone. He said the Hungarian government was in contact with Christian communities in that country through the Hungary Helps program. Meanwhile, the Hungarian Ecumenical Charity said it is launching a donation drive for families in Syria in partnership with the local Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). The charity is also transferring 5 million forints (EUR 12,700) to facilitate the first phase of the MECC’s work, it said in a statement. The charity will send aid containing food, hygiene supplies and blankets to the Aleppo region and provide accommodation to families in need, coordinated by staff members of its mission based in Iraq, it said.