Los Topos of Mexico to help in the rescue efforts after Turkey and Syria earthquake
The Mexican rescue team is one of many other teams and groups going to the region from around the world to help with the rescue efforts and further aid.
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A strong 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple large aftershocks destroyed large parts of Turkey and Syria early Monday, Feb. 6, and as of publication, has killed over 5,000 people.
It was the strongest earthquake to hit the region in over a hundred years.
Multiple aftershocks have hit the region since the initial quake early Monday. According to Alex Hatem, a USGS research geologist, in the first 11 hours, the area felt 13 big aftershocks with a magnitude of at least five.
Thousands of buildings, homes, apartments, and businesses fell to the ground across the region. The U.S. and other countries have already sent aid, rescue teams, and other resources to help in the aftermath.
Rescue efforts have continued since Monday with rescuers in Turkey and war-ravaged Syria searching in frigid temperatures, hoping to find more survivors under the rubble.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters Tuesday, Feb. 7, 13 million of the country’s 85 million were affected and declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces to jumpstart the rebuilding process.
One of the many search teams on the ground looking for survivors in the midst of it all is the Mexican nonprofit rescue team, The Brigada Internacional de Rescate Tlatelolco A.C, or better known as, Los Topos.
The rescue team first started in 1985 by a group of Mexican youth including Hector ‘El Chino’ Méndez, in the aftermath of the deadly 1985 Mexico City earthquake that killed tens of thousands.
They made themselves available to the Mexican embassy in Turkey and the consular office in Istanbul, headed by Consul Isabel Arvide, to help in the rescue efforts in a tweet sent out Monday morning. It has not received a response as of publication.
“We have made ourselves available to @EmbaMexTur with no response for now, to support rescues if help is necessary,” they tweeted.
When a response did not come, they followed it up with another tweet asking Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador about how what they can do to provide aid along with the Secretariats of the Navy (Semar), of National Defense (Sedena) or of Foreign Relations (SRE).
AMLO would respond later in the day and confirm with reporters that the group would be involved with Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, and organizations like the United Nations in sending aid and rescue teams to the region.
“Yes, it will support. Already today the Secretary of Foreign Relations presented a proposal today, with the support of the Defense and Navy, and it is open to any group that wants to help. Of course there are people here with a lot of experience," AMLO said.
The European Union said it was sending search and rescue teams from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and further aid and rescue help from the Israeli Government, Ukraine, Russia, India, and Greece.
In a statement from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, he laid out the plan from the U.S.’s end.
“The United States is profoundly concerned by the reports of today’s destructive earthquake in Turkiye and Syria. We stand ready to provide any and all needed assistance. President Biden has directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess U.S. response options to help those most affected,” he said.
How to help
Along with rescue teams and aid, donations of money and resources are being accepted here:
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund,UNICEF, said it is in Syria and focusing on water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, as well as helping children locate their families. Unicef USA
OXFAM, an international organization fighting poverty, said it is working with women’s cooperatives in Turkey to create a long-term response plan. They are accepting donations.
CARE is accepting donations for food, shelter and hygiene kits, among other things.
Doctors Without Borders is collecting donations.
U.S. based group that gives medical care in Syria and nearby countries, the Syrian American Medical Society, is collecting donations to deliver emergency aid.
Save the Children is accepting donations for its Children’s Emergency Fund, for children to have access to food, shelter and clothing.
Global Giving is collecting donations that will go towards funding emergency medical workers’ ability to provide food, shelter and medicine.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is accepting donations for its Disaster Response Emergency Fund for “immediate cash assistance.”