Friday, April 12, 2024

Turkey Earthquake: NDRF team return to India after ten days


New Delhi: India’s ‘Operation Dost’ team of 47-member National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescuers with dog squad members Rambo and Honey returned on Friday morning after their 10-day hectic and successful engagements while providing round-the-clock support to the victims of earthquake-hit Turkey.

The rest of the 54-member team with the head of the whole contingent is on the way and is expected to arrive at Ghaziabad’s Hindon Air Force Station by this evening. These members belong to the force’s 11th Battalion in Varanasi and 2nd Battalion in Kolkata.

India announced ‘Operation Dost’ shortly after a magnitude 7.8 quake-ravaged Turkey and sent a team from the Army to set up 60 Para Field Hospitals and the NDRF for search and rescue operations, including relief and humanitarian assistance to the ‘Dost’ (friendly) country.

Led by Deputy Commandant Deepak Talwar, the 47-member team of NDRF that returned on Friday morning included a five-member women crew comprising Sub-Inspector Shivani Agrawal, Sushama Yadav, Rakhi, Archana Singh and Priyanka Rai– who belonged to the force’s 8th Battalion and were among the first batch of the 51-member team that was sent to Turkey on February 7.

The 47-member team was among 101 NDRF personnel who were dispatched to Turkey in two separate batches with a four-member dog squad–Julie, Romeo, Honey and Rambo– for undertaking search and rescue operations in the affected areas of Turkey which was devastated on February 6 by massive earthquake and its aftershocks.

Sharing the operational details, Talwar told ANI that the NDRF personnel rescued two children from the rubble and evacuated 85 bodies during their 10-day engagements in earthquake-hit Turkey despite tough weather circumstances in the country.

“The weather was too cold in Turkey compared to India when we arrived there on February 7. Our troops engaged in the operation at two specific locations nearly 150 km away from the Adana Airport in Turkey…We rescued two children and evacuated 85 bodies from the debris during our 10-day operation,” Deepak Talwar said.

An Indian Air Force C17 flight with over 50 personnel from the NDRF and a specially trained dog squad along with necessary equipment, including medical supplies, drilling machines and other equipment required for the aid efforts had also departed for Turkey with the specially trained Labrador breed dog squad, who are expert in sniffing and other key skills during rescue operations in disaster-hit regions.

While India’s National Disaster Response Force miraculously rescued a six-year-old girl and made headlines, a lot of the credit for the daring rescue ought to be reserved for ‘Romeo’ and ‘Julie’, part of the NDRF’s dog squad.

Romeo and Julie succeeded where machines failed. The dog squad was instrumental in detecting the little girl’s whereabouts under tonnes of rubble. Without their help, the little girl could not have survived.

The death toll from the earthquakes in Turkey and north-western Syria has gone past 42,000.

Acclaimed globally after Japan’s triple disaster in 2011 and the Nepal earthquake in 2015, the NDRF successfully completed its task for the fourth time it was given on foreign soil since its inception.

Always led from the front by displaying a high level of dedication and commitment, the NDRF, which was constituted in 2006, was first time sent for an international rescue operation in Japan in 2011 to help the country facing triple disaster, followed by Bhutan river rescue operation in 2014 and Nepal earthquake in 2015.


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