Photo: SCDF's official Facebook page

SINGAPORE —  On Monday, a major 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Turkey and north-western regions of neighbouring Syria as people slept, flattening thousands of structures.

At least 12,391 people have died in Turkey, according to officials, while at least 2,992 have been killed in Syria as of today (9 Feb).

In response to the request for humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of a massive earthquake in Turkey, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) sent an Operation Lionheart (OLH) contingent to assist in the disaster rescue efforts.

According to SCDF’s official Facebook page, an advance team of 20 SCDF personnel had departed yesterday (8 February) to Adana, and directly deployed to Dulkadiroğlu, Kahramanmaraş, epicentre of the quake to begin search and rescue operations.

In the latest update, SCDF said a boy was rescued from a bedroom in the collapsed building in a 3-hour rescue operation.

“In the course of the search and rescue operations amidst the cold weather (about 2℃), a boy was found in a collapsed 3-storey building.”

The boy was rescued from a bedroom in the collapsed building at about 11:45pm, or 4:45 am Singapore time on 9 February.

SCDF said they worked together with the local and Spanish rescue teams to rescue the boy.

The Spanish rescue team used their search canine to pinpoint the location of the boy, and SCDF used a fibre-optic scope to confirm the visuals of the boy.

SCDF added that all three rescue teams used their cutting and breaking equipment to create an access through the rubble to reach the boy.

SCDF’s advance team, led by LTC Lok Wee Keong, commander of SCDF’s elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART), comprises 14 DART rescuers, four paramedic specialists and a Full-time National Serviceman (NSF) doctor.

Additional 48 SCDF personnel on its way

SCDF confirmed that an additional 48 SCDF personnel had started preparations for deployment to Turkey to augment the 20-member advance team.

The entire 68-member contingent, led by Contingent Commander COL Chew Keng Tok, will comprise DART officers, operations officers, medical doctors, paramedics, search specialists with four canines, hazardous materials assessment officers and support officers.

“With the 68 personnel complement, this will give the Operation Lionheart (OLH) contingent greater scope, scale and capacity to carry out more sustained and prolonged Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) operations within affected areas.”

This is also OLH contingent 20th overseas deployment since 1990 and its first one in the European region.

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