Sunday, September 24, 2023

Turkiye Quake: Ten Indonesians Wounded, Food Aid En Route to Gaziantep

Jayanty Nada Shofa
February 7, 2023 | 4:24 pm
Rescue workers search for survivors after powerful earthquakes jolted Turkiye on February 6, 2023. (Anadolu Agency)
Rescue workers search for survivors after powerful earthquakes jolted Turkiye on February 6, 2023. (Anadolu Agency)

Jakarta. The Foreign Affairs Ministry announced on Tuesday that the powerful colossal quakes that shocked Turkiye a day earlier had left at least ten Indonesian citizens wounded. 

“We will evacuate six of the [injured Indonesian citizens] to Ankara. We have tried referring them to the local hospitals, but they are overcrowded,” Indonesian Ambassador to Ankara Lalu Muhamad Iqbal, who was on his way to Gaziantep, told a press briefing virtually.

Four other Indonesian nationals are currently receiving treatment at the nearest hospital. 

The embassy will deploy four teams to evacuate 104 Indonesians from Gaziantep -- which is close to the initial quake’s epicenter -- as well as four other impacted areas, namely Kahramanmaras, Adana, Hatay, and Diyarbakir, to the Turkish capital Ankara.


“We will evacuate nine people from Hatay. Three of them broke their bones, one had a broken back. So we are taking an ambulance with us,” Lalu said.

According to Lalu, the Indonesian embassy is struggling to reach an Indonesian mother with two kids in Antakya. 

“We are also unable to contact two Indonesian spa therapists in Diyarbakir,” the envoy said.

The embassy is currently in contact with local authorities and the Indonesian protection taskforce to get a hold of them.

The Indonesian government has dispatched a container of food aid to the humanitarian organization Turkish Red Crescent in Gaziantep. The container, which is currently en route to Gaziantep, contains 2,000 boxes of cup noodles, portable stoves, and gas. The Ankara embassy will also distribute 300 blankets to the evacuating Indonesians. 

Aside from the magnitude of the quakes, the winter blizzard —with temperatures reaching minus 7 degrees— has hampered the transfer of food aid and evacuation efforts, Lalu told reporters. 

According to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah, the dispatched food aid became the initial batch of assistance from the Indonesian government to Turkiye. Any subsequent assistance is currently under discussion among the relevant ministries in Jakarta. The ministry, however, cannot confirm when exactly the next assistance will reach Turkiye.

“But we have seen huge enthusiasm from non-government organizations [NGOs] to send their rescue personnel. But we are still coordinating things,” Teuku said.

Initial government reports revealed that an estimated 6,500 Indonesians live in Türkiye. At least 500 of these Indonesian citizens resided in the quake-impacted area. Many of the Indonesians living in Turkiye are students. 

The powerful quakes in Turkiye also struck neighboring Syria. The Indonesian embassy in Damascus has also sent teams to Aleppo and Hama to confirm if there are any Indonesians that fall victim to the quake. The embassy to this day has not received any reports of Indonesian victims.

At least 1,500 Indonesian citizens are currently in Syria, 500 of which live in the impacted areas, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

No Indonesian had died from the massive earthquakes so far, the government revealed.

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