India on Tuesday sent to Turkey relief materials, a mobile hospital and specialised search and rescue teams in two C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft to help the country in the wake of the devastating earthquake and multiple aftershocks that killed over 4,000 people.
Two more flights are expected to carry more relief items, including medical supplies, soon to Turkey while another one is set to be sent to Syria which was also hit by the earthquake on Monday, people familiar with the matter said.
Several countries around the world have extended help to both countries in their rescue and recovery efforts. "India expresses its solidarity at this challenging moment," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted.
In another tweet, S Jaishankar said he contacted his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad to express solidarity and convey India's support.
"Two C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift aircraft of #IAF have departed India for Turkey carrying @NDRFHQ teams and #HADR equipment. India stands in solidarity with the people of Turkey in this difficult time," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
Rescue workers in Turkey are racing against time to save people trapped under the rubble of thousands of buildings.
The first C-17 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force, carrying a group of search and rescue personnel, specially trained dog squads, drilling machines, relief material, medicines landed in Adana in the quake-hit country in the morning.
A second IAF plane with similar consignments was sent to Turkey around noon.
"First Indian C17 flight with more than 50 @NDRFHQ Search & Rescue personnel, specially trained dog squads, drilling machines, relief material, medicines and other necessary utilities & equipment reaches Adana, Turkey," Jaishankar said on Twitter.
First Indian C17 flight with more than 50 @NDRFHQ Search & Rescue personnel, specially trained dog squads,drilling machines, relief material, medicines and other necessary utilities & equipment reaches Adana,Türkiye.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) February 7, 2023
Second plane getting ready for departure. @MevlutCavusoglupic.twitter.com/sSjuRJJrIO
Adana is one of the areas affected by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
"Second @IAF_MCC C-17 with self-contained @NDRFHQ teams including dog squads, search & rescue equipment, extrication tools and vehicles leaves for Turkey . India continues to support the people of Turkiye in their hour of need," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
India dispatches an @adgpi field hospital to Türkiye to establish a 30 bedded medical facility.— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) February 7, 2023
Its first component has left on @IAF_MCC C17 with a 45 member medical team, including critical care specialists & surgeons. Also has X-ray machine, ventilators, OT & other equipment. pic.twitter.com/qKrEjOQQ59
The aircraft also carried the first batch of 45 members from the Indian Army's Agra-based field hospital. They are part of a team that will set up a 30-bed field hospital.
"India dispatches an ADGPI field hospital to Turkey to establish a 30 bedded medical facility. Its first component has left on C17 with a 45 member medical team, including critical care specialists and surgeons. Also has X-ray machine, ventilators, OT and other equipment," Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
The Army said it has mobilised a medical team of 99 members for earthquake-hit Turkey.
"The team comprises medical specialists and is equipped with X-ray machines, ventilators, oxygen generation plants, cardiac monitors and associated equipment, to establish a 30-bedded medical facility," an Army official said.
The people cited above said two more flights to Turkey are set to be sent on Tuesday itself.
Separately, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan visited the Syrian embassy and extended condolences to Ambassador Bassam Al-Khatib over the devastation triggered by the earthquake.
He also conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's message of sympathy and commitment to providing expeditious assistance and support to Turkey.
Turkish ambassador Firat Sunel appreciated India's assistance.
"This is an example of good friendship and we appreciate India's timely help. Indian experts are now in the field," he said.
"The damage has been extensive because there were two massive quakes and more than 300 aftershocks," he told reporters.
"'Dost' is a common word in Turkish and Hindi... We have a Turkish proverb: 'Dost kara gunde belli olur' (a friend in need is a friend indeed). Thank you very much India," he tweeted.
India on Monday decided to immediately dispatch search and rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force, medical teams and relief material to Turkey following Prime Minister Modi's instructions to offer all possible assistance to the country.
Several countries, including the US and the UK, are sending relief materials and search and rescue specialists to Turkey to help search for survivors of the quake.
The massive earthquake has killed more than 4,900 people and flattened thousands of buildings in Turkey and neighbouring Syria.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)