Rescue efforts after earthquake in Turkey are interrupted by security issues

  • By Kathryn Armstrong
  • BBC Information

11 February 2023 at 15:59 GMT

Up to date 23 minutes in the past

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Members of the Catastrophe Reduction Command of the Austrian Armed Forces seek for survivors within the Turkish province of Hatay

A deteriorating safety scenario in southern Turkey has disrupted rescue efforts after Monday’s lethal earthquake, worldwide teams mentioned.

German rescue employees and the Austrian military interrupted their search operations, citing clashes between unnamed teams.

There have been additionally reviews of looting.

Turkey’s president mentioned he would use emergency powers to punish anybody who breaks the regulation.

The demise toll from the earthquake has now handed 25,000 and hopes of discovering many extra survivors below the rubble regardless of miraculous rescues are fading.

There have been reviews early Saturday that clashes between unidentified teams in Hatay province had led to dozens of staff from Austria’s armed forces’ catastrophe reduction unit taking shelter at a base camp together with different worldwide organizations.

“Aggression between factions is rising in Turkey,” Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Kugelweis of the Austrian Armed Forces mentioned in an announcement. “The possibility of saving a life is disproportionate to the protection threat.”

This evaluation was shared by the German department of the search and rescue group ISAR, which additionally ceased operations along with the Federal Company for Technical Reduction (TSW).

“There are an increasing number of reviews of clashes between totally different factions, photographs have additionally been fired,” mentioned ISAR spokesman Stefan Heine.

The Austrian Protection Ministry later mentioned the Turkish military stepped in to guard them and continued their rescue operations.

It’s unclear whether or not German rescue efforts have resumed.

Though Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not commented on the reported unrest in Hatay, he reiterated on Saturday that the federal government will crack down on these implicated in crimes within the area.

“Now we have declared a state of emergency,” mentioned Erdogan at present throughout a go to to the catastrophe space. “Because of this any further folks concerned in looting or kidnappings ought to know that the agency hand of the state is on their backs.”

State media reported on Saturday that 48 folks had been arrested for looting, in keeping with AFP.

The quake was described by the United Nations reduction chief, who was within the Turkish province of Kahramanmaras on Saturday, because the “worst occasion on this area in 100 years”.

“I believe it’s the worst pure catastrophe I’ve ever seen and it’s additionally essentially the most extraordinary worldwide response,” Martin Griffiths advised the BBC’s Lyse Doucet in Turkey.

“Now we have greater than 100 international locations which have despatched folks right here, so there was an unimaginable response, however there’s a want for it,” he added.

Mr Griffiths has known as for regional coverage to be put apart within the face of the catastrophe – and there are some indicators that that’s taking place.

And there are reviews that the Syrian authorities has agreed to let UN help into areas managed by opposition teams with which it has been engaged in a bitter civil warfare since 2011.

Ismail al Abdullah of the Syrian Civil Protection Drive, or White Helmets, which operates in rebel-held areas, advised the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville that the group had stopped trying to find survivors.

The worldwide group has “blood on its arms,” he mentioned. “We wanted rescue gear that by no means got here.”

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Inside Syria: BBC sees kids digging via rubble


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