NDRF teams return to Ghaziabad after rescue op in earthquake-hit Turkey | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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NDRF teams return to Ghaziabad after rescue op in earthquake-hit Turkey

Feb 18, 2023 04:26 AM IST

India announced ‘Operation Dost’ shortly after the quake hit and sent a team from the Indian Army to set up 60 Para Field Hospitals and NDRF for search and rescue operations, including relief and humanitarian assistance to the country.

Ten days after taking off to a devastated earthquake-hit Turkey, two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) returned to India on Friday after undertaking intense rescue and relief operations amid rising casualties in the nation. The teams, including five women personnel who were sent to a foreign soil for the first time, landed at Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad.

The NDRF personnel rescued two people and recovered 85 bodies from the debris. (Sakib Ali/ HT)
The NDRF personnel rescued two people and recovered 85 bodies from the debris. (Sakib Ali/ HT)

The rescue personnel were from NDRF battalions based in Ghaziabad and Kolkata, officials said, adding that a third team is also expected to fly back shortly. The teams had taken off in Indian Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster from the Hindon airbase on February 7.

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The teams during the operation rescued two people alive from the debris and recovered 85 bodies, officials said.

Also Read| Turkey earthquake: Girl, 17, rescued from rubble after over 248 hours

Even though the 10-day long operation was “challenging” further made difficult by sub-zero temperatures in Turkey, the NDRF personnel said that miraculous recoveries and support from locals helped lower the intensity of the daunting task at hand.

“The task in Turkey was challenging as several buildings were hit and many casualties ensued after the early morning earthquake which hit the southern part of the country when people were sleeping. Many buildings which remained intact were unstable even as temperatures remained sub-zero. So, the task was challenging but locals extended all possible help to us and remained hopeful throughout our stay. A six-year-old girl was rescued alive and it brought smiles to all faces,” said sub-inspector Shivani Agarwal, one of the five women rescuers.

Also Read: After Turkey, researcher forecasts earthquake in India. Can we predict temblor?

At least 43,000 have died and millions left homeless after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey in the dead of night on February 6.

India announced ‘Operation Dost’ shortly after the quake hit and sent a team from the Indian Army to set up 60 Para Field Hospitals and NDRF for search and rescue operations, including relief and humanitarian assistance to the country.

“The locals and children greeted us with slogans of ‘I love India.’ They arrived with hope on their faces and looked upon us to rescue their trapped family members. Even in times of such a calamity, they brought biscuits, chocolates, flowers and even key rings for us to show their love and affection at the time of farewell. We were overwhelmed. A teary-eyed translator hugged me at least 10 during our departure,” Agarwal added.

The team of the eighth battalion based in Ghaziabad also came back with two rescue dogs — Honey, aged six, and Rambo, 5, also took part in their first assignment in a foreign country.

“This is the first time that women rescuers were sent to a foreign country for rescue operations. Women personnel also took part in 2015 rescue efforts in Nepal but they were mostly from medical units. Three NDRF teams also took along two rescue dogs each with them and they pinpointed the location of live people trapped inside the debris of collapsed buildings. The damage was widespread due to a pancake-type collapse,” said PK Tiwari, commandant from the eighth NDRF battalion.

He said that the locals in Turkey extended all help despite the sufferings and extended a warm farewell to the teams.

“We rescued two people and 85 bodies were also traced. A total of six dogs were sent with the three teams. Two teams have reported back and one team is expected to come back shortly,” Tiwari added.

Officials said that the teams have returned as the rescue operations have almost ended and the relief operations in Turkey will be taken up by the local administration.

“NDRF teams deployed under #OperationDost for #Earthquake #RescueOps in Türkiye returns back. NDRF worked hard in contributing to alleviate the huge tragedy in Turkey’s earthquake,” @NDRFHQ tweeted on Friday.

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