PH mulls sending team, aid to quake-hit Syria

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 09 2023 08:24 PM

The Philippine government is considering sending either a response team or aid to help Syria, which was also struck by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that affected Turkey.

In an interview with reporters at Camp Aguinaldo, Office of Civil Defense spokesperson Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV said the Syrian government formally sent a “flash appeal” to the Philippine government on Wednesday night.

“That is what we are evaluating now with DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs]. Either we can send another contingent or send donations or relief items. Wala pang decision but we have already received through DFA a similar call from Syria and we are evaluating it,” Alejandro said Thursday.

“It’s an appeal for international assistance,” he added.

The Philippines’ 83-person response team arrived in Istanbul on Thursday at 12:08 p.m., Philippine time.

The team will help in search and rescue operations, and provide relief assistance to victims in the quake-hit country.

Alejandro said the Philippine contingent will be assigned to Adana, one of the 10 provinces severely affected by the tremor.

“They were warmly received by our counterpart doon and ang ating Philippine consulate. Our PH embassy officials were there to meet them. Nagkaroon sila ng initial briefing doon. They will be transported again to their assigned region which is Adana. It is south of Istanbul,” the official noted.

“They are set to depart at 11 a.m., Istanbul time… para sa Adana. Initially, mayroong 18 buildings doon na nagcollapse per report. Ang ating USAR is a medium-type USAR team capable of doing collapsed structure search and rescue.”

Philippine Ambassador to Turkey Maria Elena Algabre will meet the Philippine contingent in Adana.

“Our ambassador na umiikot sa southern part will meet them doon mamaya sa Adana. Nag-iikot siya to check on our OFWs and the Filipino community doon sa southern part ng Turkey,” Alejandro said.

“As soon as they arrive… They will officially register sa Adana emergency operations center para makacheck-in na ang ating team. They will set up their command post as the Philippine contingent, billeting nila, mga tulugan nila. Hopefully, first crack tomorrow morning, kahit late in the evening, they can start working,” he added.