Brazilian humanitarian aid arrived in Ankara, Turkey, on Thursday night (9). Afterwards, the group headed to Adana, a city in the south of the country, on the border with Syria, the region of the epicenter of the earthquake that occurred on Monday (6).

At least 18,991 people have been killed in Turkey, according to President Erdogan, surpassing the toll of the country’s devastating 1999 earthquake of the same magnitude. It is estimated that at least 3,377 people were killed in Syria.

Despite having exceeded 100 hours after the earthquakes, defying the odds, rescue teams are finding people alive in the rubble, both in Turkey and in Syria, where the situation is even more precarious due to the war. This has been reason for much hope for teams like the Brazilian team, which arrived in the country yesterday.

“I wasn’t sure if she was alive – she was pale, cold, silent.
Her limbs were purple and her body was covered in bruises,” recalled doctor Hany Maarouf, of when baby Aya arrived at Jehan Hospital in Afrin, northwest Syria, after being pulled out of the rubble of a building.

Syria’s Difficulties

The Itamaraty note does not mention shipments to Syria. In addition to being the most affected country, Syria faces enormous obstacles to receiving international aid, due to the civil war that blocks passage to the affected areas.

Conditions in Syria are on edge. Medical teams are small and exhausted by the scale of the disaster. There is a shortage of medicines and equipment in hospitals, which run on fuel-based generators at their limits. This situation can become part of the catastrophe, after the rescues.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said 14 trucks carrying humanitarian aid had crossed into northwest Syria from Turkey.

“These convoys are carrying electric heaters, tents, blankets and other items to help those people who have been displaced as a result of this catastrophic earthquake,” spokesman Paul Dillon said, adding that the aid was intended for Idlib.

Opposition-controlled northwest Syria is home to nearly two million internally displaced refugees.

Rescue teams, equipment and medicines

The team of 42 people and 4 sniffer dogs boarded a FAB (Brazilian Air Force) KC-30 aircraft bound for the country in the Middle East. The team is made up of 34 firefighters from São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. The others are doctors and civil defense agents.

6 tons of equipment were also sent to help with rescue operations and 3 “disaster kits” that each contain 250 kg of medication and emergency items, provided by the Ministry of Health that serve up to 1,500 people for a month.

The mission is coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE), through the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), responsible for the Federal Government’s humanitarian cooperation, in conjunction with the Ministries of Defense (MD), Health (MS), Regional Development (MIDR) and Justice and Public Security (MJSP), and with other federal agencies that work in a coordinated manner within the scope of the Interministerial Working Group on International Humanitarian Cooperation.


On Monday (6th), shortly after the tragedy, Itamaraty offered to send help. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) sympathized with the victims of both countries.

“We look with concern at the news coming out of Turkey and Syria, after the earthquake of great magnitude. Brazil expresses its solidarity with the people of both countries, with the families of the victims and all those who lost their homes in this tragedy”, wrote Lula in his Twitter profile.

Governments and international organizations have sent rescue teams and doctors to help Turkey and Syria. Brazil is among those providing assistance. International leaders and officials mourned the losses caused by the natural disaster.

government difficulties

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared on Tuesday (7) a state of emergency for 3 months in 10 provinces. The leader said that the measure aims to speed up the operations of search and rescue of victims. “The severity of the earthquake disaster we have experienced makes it imperative to implement extraordinary measures,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish leader admitted on Wednesday (8) problems in his government’s initial response during a visit to the city of Kahramanmaras. He forced hotels to reopen in winter to house the affected families. He also stated that the government will carry out works to rebuild the destroyed buildings, including residential buildings, with the help of AFAD (Turkey Disaster and Emergency Monitoring Agency).

Under attack from the opposition, on the eve of the election, he admitted that the Turkish authorities’ response to the major earthquakes in the south of the country was not as swift as the government had wanted.

“So many buildings were damaged that unfortunately we were unable to accelerate our interventions as quickly as we wanted,” Erdogan said during a visit to the hard-hit southern city of Adiyaman.

The statement came a day after Erdogan admitted that there were “failures” in the government’s handling of the disaster.

Erdogan added that some people were robbing markets and attacking businesses after the disaster. He said a declared state of emergency in the worst-hit areas would allow the government to quickly penalize those responsible.


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