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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article7 February 2023Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)1 min read

Earthquake: EU mobilises more than 1,180 rescuers to Türkiye via Civil Protection Mechanism

Team of rescue workers boarding a plane
Polish search and rescue team mobilised through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism on its way to Türkiye.
© Państwowa Straż Pożarna, 2023

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Türkiye and Syria yesterday morning has already taken the lives of thousands, while many people are still stuck under the rubble.

After the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism by Türkiye, 19 EU Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) together with Albania and Montenegro have offered teams in coordination with the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) and the Turkish authorities.

25 search and rescue teams are heading to the hardest hit areas in Türkiye to help the first responders on the ground, 11 of these teams have already arrived. In addition, 2 medical teams have been sent via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to provide emergency healthcare to people affected. In total, 1,185 rescuers and 79 search dogs have been offered by the European countries. These numbers could rise further.

The ERCC has also put together an EU Civil Protection Team of experts from 11 Member States who have been immediately deployed to Türkiye to support the operations.

In Syria, the EU is in contact with its humanitarian partners on the ground and is funding humanitarian organisations that are carrying out search and rescue operations, while also providing water and sanitation support, and distributing blankets and hygiene items in affected areas. They are also assessing the level of damage and needs inside Syria in the aftermath of yesterday's earthquake to adapt their response.

The EU is considering all viable options to deploy additional resources inside Syria in support of the affected populations.