MANILA – The Philippines will be sending over healthcare workers and engineers and donating basic goods to victims of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that left thousands of people from Türkiye and Syria hurt and homeless, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Tuesday.
In a chance interview with reporters in Pasay City, Marcos said he has coordinated with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to organize an 85-member group that will be traveling to the two countries to provide aid and turn over the donations.
“We have organized a group of about 85 personnel together with some goods…Ang hinahanap sa atin ay mga blanket, mga winter clothing dahil siyempre yung mga nasiraan ng bahay sa Türkiye ay wala na silang tirahan (What they are looking for are blankets, winter clothing because there are people in Türkiye who are now homeless). They are exposed so they need all of these things,” he told reporters during the 2023 Tax Campaign kickoff of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) at the Philippine International Convention Center.
“Mayroong pinapadala tayong mga engineer, mayroon tayong pinapadalang (We are sending engineers, we are sending) health workers and of course the goods that we feel that they will need,” he added.
He said he also got the assurance of Türkiye’s flag carrier to transport the 85-member group and donations.
“We are organizing it already and I already have a, the assurance also of the Turkish Air[lines] that they will be the ones to bring our people and our equipment and our goods to I suppose to Ankara first and then to be distributed properly in Türkiye,” he said.
Marcos said the 85-member group is expected to leave by Wednesday night to assure that there will no longer be aftershocks.
“There is also a danger kasi marami pang (there will be a lot of) aftershocks) and they have to inspect also the buildings,” he added.
On Monday, a 7.8 magnitude quake killed more than 3,700 people across Türkiye and Syria where temperatures are expected to fall to near freezing.
The quake was the biggest recorded worldwide by the US Geological Survey since a tremor in the remote South Atlantic in August 2021.
In Türkiye, the death toll stood at 2,316, according to its Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
It was the most severe quake to hit Türkiye since 1999. More than 17,000 people died in that powerful quake around 24 years ago.
Meanwhile, at least 1,444 people were killed in Syria.
The quake caused further damage to the devastation in Syria, which is currently grappling with a nearly 12-year-long civil war. (PNA)