SINGAPORE - A team of Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers in Turkey on Wednesday rescued a boy from the rubble of a building that collapsed following Monday’s massive earthquake.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake has left more than 16,000 dead in Turkey and the north-western regions of its neighbour Syria. Entire apartment blocks have toppled and hospitals have been wrecked, leaving thousands of people injured or homeless.
The boy was found in a collapsed building near the epicentre of the quake in the south-eastern city of Kahramanmaras. Amid wintry conditions with temperatures plunging to around 2 deg C, the Singapore team worked with local Turkish and Spanish rescue teams to save the boy in a three-hour operation, said SCDF in a Facebook post.
The Spanish team deployed a search canine to pinpoint the boy’s location, aided by the SCDF officers’ use of a fibre-optic scope to obtain visuals of the boy.
All three teams used cutting and breaking equipment to reach the boy through the rubble and managed to retrieve him at around 11.45pm on Wednesday (4.45am on Thursday, Singapore time) from a bedroom in the three-storey building.
The advance team of 20 SCDF officers, part of the Operation Lionheart contingent, landed in the southern Turkish city of Adana earlier on Wednesday and headed east towards Dulkadiroglu, Kahramanmaras, to begin search-and-rescue operations.
Another team of 48 SCDF officers will be deployed to Turkey to join the 20-member advance team, SCDF said.
Rescue efforts and the search for survivors have been hampered by freezing winter conditions as many people remain trapped under rubble. The death toll is expected to rise.
Several Singapore charities have started fund-raising drives for victims.
Humanity Matters – a Singapore interfaith charity – is tying up with the Turkish Embassy in Singapore to send items such as surgical respirators and oxygen chambers to victims and first-responders in Turkey.
Singapore disaster relief agency Mercy Relief and local charity Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation (RLAF) are teaming up with Turkish agency Hayrat Humanitarian Aid Association to provide on-the-ground relief such as hot meals and blankets to victims.
Donation boxes will also be placed at all mosques in Singapore from Feb 10 to Feb 16.
To contribute to Mercy Relief’s fund-raiser, send donations via Mercy Relief’s website or make fund transfers to its bank account (DBS: 054-900741-2).
For RLAF’s fund-raiser, members of the public can donate via PayNow (UEN: 200910530ZRLA, indicate “TurkiyeSyria2023” in remarks), its Giving.SG campaign (giving.sg/rlafoundationsg/TurkiyeSyria2023) or bank transfer (OCBC: 601313315001), or by mailing a cheque to RLAF or the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.