Pakistan’s Rescue 1122 team receives applause for heroic efforts as they depart Turkey

Pakistan’s Urban Search and Rescue team, Rescue 1122, received a round of applause at Turkey airport on Thursday as they left for Pakistan after carrying out a 17-day search and rescue operation in the earthquake-stricken Adiyaman city.

The death toll from two powerful earthquakes on February 6 in southern Türkiye has claimed more than 43,500 lives.

During the farewell ceremony for the Pakistan rescue team, which was attended by several dignitaries, including Deputy Governor of Istanbul Özlem Bozkurt Gevrek, Deputy Ambassador Zeynep Kaleli of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey Dr. Yousaf Junaid, the Pakistani team was honored with a resounding round of applause and appreciation as they departed for Pakistan.

Expressing her gratitude, Deputy Governor of Istanbul Özlem Bozkurt Gevrek thanked the team for their assistance during the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake.

Additionally, the footage shared by the official Twitter account of the Pakistani Embassy in Turkey showed the airport staff standing at the sides and clapping for the Rescue-1122 team as they walked to board the plane.

Rescue 1122 success

While conducting rescue operations in Adiyaman and Hatay, the Pakistani team performed live evacuations and provided their expertise and equipment to facilitate the other local and international rescue teams.

A survivor of the earthquake in Turkey expressed gratitude towards Rescue 1122, stating that the team cared for them with great compassion and stayed with them for five days. Fatima, the survivor, wrote, “We were in pain and they helped us.”

“The level of destruction is beyond the capacity of one country,” Major Mateen, leader of a 33-member Urban Search and Rescue team with Pakistan Army, told reporters, moments before flying back home after a 17-day operation in southern Adiyaman province.

USAR squad of Pakistan

The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) squad from Pakistan, which returned to the country on Friday morning, comprised a 33-member Pakistan Army USAR team and 53-member Rescue 1122 team.

Through their unwavering dedication, the team combed through 91 sites and provided assistance at 39 different locations, resulting in the successful rescue of eight individuals, including children. Furthermore, the Pakistani team collaborated with other rescue teams to save five additional people. The team also retrieved and handed over 138 deceased bodies to Turkish authorities.

Appreciation from PM

Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif also commended the Rescue-1122 team for their tireless efforts and humanitarian spirit in rescuing and saving the lives of Turkish citizens, including sisters, brothers, and children, after the catastrophic earthquake in Turkey.

“We salute these brave and dutiful sons of nations, who saved the lives of [Turkish] sisters, brothers and children amidst the earthquake devastation and worked day and night with the spirit of humanity,” he said in a twitter post.

The PM also shared the video clip showing the return of the Rescue 1122 contingent to Pakistan amidst the public round of applause, calling it “a proud and soulful scene”.

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