Italy activates to aid Turkey and Syria. Upon learning of Monday’s devastating earthquakes that ripped across the Turkish-Syrian border, officials in Rome moved quickly to dispatch aid through Italy’s Civil Protection Department (DPC).
- In the early afternoon, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani reached out to his Turkish counterpart to offer aid. After Ankara accepted it, Rome dispatched a P-180 aircraft Fire Department with an advanced squadron of specialised DPC personnel, as well as a C-130 carrying aid, vehicles, and medical operatives.
- The dispatched team is a “Usar Medium” module, composed of 50 highly specialised firefighters, several heath workers and DPC profesisonals. All are experienced in searching and rescuing victims from under the rubble.
- According to a Defence note, a second C-130 took off on Tuesday afternoon, carrying medicines and medical supplies, bound for the Incirlik air base in Turkey.
An international effort. At the time of writing, search and rescue operations are undergoing. The death toll from the earthquakes has surpassed 5,000, and the World Health Organisation warns it could rise above 20,000. Turkey received proposals for help and support from the EU – which immediately activated the European Civil Protection Mechanism –, NATO and 45 other countries.
Words from the Italian officials. Through an official note, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed her closeness and solidarity with the affected populations and notified she was in constant communication with the DPC to follow developments. “In this moment of mourning, Italy is close, with feelings of shared solidarity, to the grief of our friends, the Turkish people.”
- President Sergio Mattarella also reached out to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with a message. “Our thoughts go out to the families of those who lost their lives, to the injured – whom we wish a speedy recovery – and to the rescue teams. In a spirit of closeness, please accept, Mr President, the expressions of the most sincere condolences of the Italian Republic and my own personal condolences.”
- While communicating with his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, FM Tajani also sought to express Italy’s support. “I am close to the Turkish people who have been hit by a violent earthquake that has claimed many victims. Italy’s help will not be lacking,” he tweeted, before expressing further closeness “to the Syrian people, who are suffering another hard blow with today’s earthquake after years of war.”
- Defence Minister Guido Crosetto, too, expressed Rome’s solidarity and sympathy to the people and noted he was closely following developments. “The DPC has been activated, and the Defence is deploying all its available means and personnel. We stand by the affected populations,” he tweeted, adding that his Ministry “and the Armed Forces are ready to do what is necessary to help and support those in need.”