A search and rescue team from New Taipei City (新北市) is on standby, waiting to depart for Turkey to offer assistance in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that struck the country on Sunday, an official said yesterday.
“We sent text messages to all of our rescue team members after we learned that a magnitude 7.2 earthquake had hit eastern Turkey, causing heavy human casualties,” New Taipei City Fire Department Director Huang Teh-ching (黃德清) said.
The team’s search and rescue equipment, including life detectors, has been packed in preparation for the mission and, if necessary, the team’s four search and rescue dogs will also join the efforts, he said.
To provide the most timely and effective emergency aid, the National Fire Agency has worked out a schedule for search and rescue teams in cities and counties throughout the country, in which they would take turns for overseas aid missions, Huang said.
“A priority team and a reserve team are listed every month for overseas emergency rescue assistance and this month it was the turn of the New Taipei City team,” he said.
Wu Hung-yi (吳宏益), a division chief with the New Taipei City team, said the team had been part of the search and rescue mission to Japan after a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck that country in March.
“We are prepared to head for Turkey — with our general equipment packed and personal equipment distributed to all team members,” Huang said. “We can fly out as soon as the National Fire Agency gives the go-ahead.”
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