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Thais join quake mission

BANGKOK: His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua has sent messages of condolences to the presidents of the Republic of Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic after the recent earthquake, which had killed over 16,000 people as of Thursday (Feb 9).

Friday 10 February 2023, 10:05AM

Civilians look for survivors under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, close to the quake’s epicentre, the day after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country’s southeast. Photo: AFP

Civilians look for survivors under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, close to the quake’s epicentre, the day after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country’s southeast. Photo: AFP

The message that was sent to the president of Türkiye reads, “Queen Suthida and I are shocked and so deeply saddened by the catastrophic earthquake striking expansive areas across southern Türkiye,” reports the Bangkok Post.

“Casualties are now nearing ten thousand and are projected to surge multifold, with countless thousands more injured, missing, or made homeless. Infrastructure and buildings lie in rubble.

“Our hearts and minds are indeed with the victims and the rescuers. Thailand will respond appropriately in joining the international relief effort.

“On behalf of the people of Thailand, we wish to extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Your Excellency and the people of Türkiye. We join you in mourning the losses and bereavements. We hope and pray for a complete and speedy recovery from this tragic disaster.”

The message, which was sent to the president of Syria, reads: “The Queen and I are much saddened to learn of the devastating earthquake which struck many areas in northwestern Syria, with great number of lives lost, scores of missing and injured, and uprooting an untold number of the population.

“We wish to extend, on behalf of the people of Thailand, our profound condolences and sympathy to Your Excellency and, through you, to the people of the Syrian Arab Republic, especially those who have suffered loss and bereavement from a disaster of such magnitude.

“We sincerely hope that this calamity will come to a rapid end leading to the fullest recovery.”

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which hit southern Türkiye and its neighbour Syria early on Monday, is one of the largest to strike the quake-prone area in the past century, raising fears of a new humanitarian crisis in a region strained by years of war, displacement and economic hardship.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday donated 5 million baht on behalf of the Thai government to support humanitarian efforts in Türkiye following the earthquake.

The donation was accepted by Turkish ambassador Serap Ersoy at Government House, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said.

Mr Anucha said the Thai government sent a team of 42 rescue workers from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) to help with search and rescue efforts in Türkiye, as well as medical supplies.

The prime minister said the Turkish government could contact the Foreign Affairs Ministry if it needs further assistance from Thailand.

Mr Anucha also said Gen Prayut was saddened to learn that a Thai woman died in the earthquake. He instructed the Foreign Affairs Ministry to contact the Thai embassy in Ankara to take care of the matter.

There was no report of other Thais suffering injuries, the spokesman said, adding that there are about 30 Thais in Türkiye, some of whom are currently staying in temporary shelters provided by the Turkish government.

Lerpong Suansang, director of special operations, search and rescue at the DDPM, said that the Thai urban search and rescue (USAR) team, which is made up of 42 rescue workers and two sniffer dogs, flew to Türkiye last night for a ten-day search and rescue operation.

Opas Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry, said the ministry will send 32 medics to assist victims in Türkiye and Syria.

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