Press releases, 10.02.2023

The earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have caused massive damage, leaving thousands of people in the two countries dead or injured, with the number of casualties still expected to rise. In response to an appeal from the Turkish authorities, Swiss Humanitarian Aid immediately sent a Swiss Rescue team to the affected regions last Monday. A second phase of the emergency response is being launched today.

Over the past few days, 87 specialists of Swiss Rescue and 8 dogs of the organisation Redog have carried out rescue operations at various locations in Hatay Province. They have managed to rescue 11 people, among them two babies, since their arrival on Tuesday 7 February and will continue searching until the middle of next week. The team includes specialists of the Swiss Armed Forces' military disaster relief. Over 90 international search and rescue teams are at work in the areas affected, in close cooperation with the Turkish authorities.

Redog is also working directly with its partner, the Turkish organisation GEA. The dogs sent to Turkey have helped save a total of 39 people from the rubble. Yet 100 hours after the first quake, the chances of survival for those trapped in the rubble are dwindling. The main concerns are the lack of food and water and the temperatures below freezing.

Second phase of emergency response gets under way

Today, 10 February, a second secondment of 12 specialists from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit will fly from Bern to Adana in Turkey. The flight will be carried out by the Swiss Air Force and its Federal Air Transport Service. In addition to the team leader, the secondment will consist of psychologists, logistics experts, doctors, accommodation specialists and others. It will assess the needs of the population on the ground, and determine what action the Confederation can take to meet those needs.

Four specialists to leave for Aleppo on Monday

In Syria, which has also been severely affected by Monday's earthquake, the security situation is complicating both humanitarian activities and access to the disaster-stricken areas. A group of Swiss specialists, set up by the SDC, will leave Damascus on Monday for Aleppo. These specialists are currently based in the Swiss representations in the region and are familiar with the local context. They will remain there for about 10 days in order to assess needs and realise humanitarian assistance on the ground, particularly in the north-west region.

Over the course of the week, Swiss staff from Swiss representations in the region have been drafted in to boost the SDC's Humanitarian Office in Damascus and some of the SDC's activities have been reassigned to enable it to respond to the emergency, in cooperation with its partners.

In total, CHF 7 million has been released by the SDC to assist the two disaster-stricken countries.


Further information:

Newsfeed - Switzerland provides emergency humanitarian aid to Turkey and Syria

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