The Slovenia Times

Slovenia sends staff and search dogs to Turkey

Hama, Syria
Rescue operation after disastrous earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
Photo: SANA/dpa/STA

Slovenia has sent a coordination expert and a group of seven rescue dogs with handlers along with four assistants to Turkey as charities are raising funds to help both Syria and Turkey cope with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that has killed thousands of people.

The Slovenian team will operate in southern Turkey as part of the EU-led effort under the Civil Protection Mechanism and comes in response to Turkey's plea for help.

The rescue dogs with their handlers will be active on the ground on 8 February, the head of the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Leon Behin told reporters as they headed for their mission on 7 February.

They are expected to stay in Turkey for four or five days, as exhaustion usually sets in after such a period.

The team will be an integral part of the EU Civil Protection Force. A total of 21 European countries, including Montenegro and Albania, have contributed 1,185 rescuers and 79 search dogs to the effort.

"This is very important and direct assistance that we are providing to Turkey," Behin said. A set of equipment has been prepared which is usually requested later on in such cases by the affected countries.

Slovenia also sent to Turkey an expert to assist with coordination under the European Civil Protection Mechanism. He is a long-serving employee of the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration with many years of experience, including in Lebanon.

Two more assessment and coordination experts from Slovenia are ready to be deployed if necessary. Further potential aid will depend on requests for help and response agreed at the EU level.

Meanwhile, Slovenian charity organisations, including UNICEF Slovenija, the Slovenian Red Cross and Caritas, have launched fund-raising campaigns. They opened special accounts where people can donate money. Donations are also possible by text messages.

Caritas said the funds will be allocated for food and water, sanitation products, temporary shelters and psychosocial support.

The city of Celje has promised aid to the people of Gaziantep, a city located near the epicentre of 6 February earthquakes. Celje and Gaziantep signed a charter of friendship and cooperation in 2014. "Our thoughts are with you and please let us know how we can best help you," Mayor Matija Kovač said.

Like other countries, Slovenia responded by offering help just hours after the first of several tremors struck southern Turkey and northern Syria. Senior state officials, including President Nataša Pirc Musar and Prime Minister Robert Golob, offered condolences to the victims' families.


More from Society