MoD medics aid victims of Turkey earthquake

More than 100 specialists join international aid response
UK medical specialists attend to a patient in Turkey. Photo: Ministry of Defence

By Jim Dunton

20 Feb 2023

The Ministry of Defence has revealed details of the support its medical specialists are offering in response to the devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria earlier this month.

It said more than 100 of its medical specialists are now providing urgent assistance to quake victims through a critical-care air support team and the field medical treatment facility that the MoD and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office have set up in Turkoglu, close to the earthquake's epicentre.

The UK is working alongside Norway and the Netherlands in operating flights of C-130 aircraft capable of taking up to 27 patients at a time away from the region so that they can receive treatment elsewhere.

Royal Air Force Wing Commander David Hall said the Critical Care Air Support Team was always on standby to transfer the most critically ill or injured patients by air.

“We have a unique capability to rapidly deploy on any aircraft, to anywhere in the world and deliver the highest standards of critical care in the air,” he said. “The team includes a consultant, two flight nurses, a medic and technical support, and we’re proud to deploy in support of the UK’s disaster response and provide care to the sickest patients.”

At the Turkoglu facility, 82 personnel from 16 Medical Regiment and the RAF Tactical Medical Wing are working alongside Turkish medical staff and professionals from charity UK-Med to provide life-saving treatment and support.

So far, more than 15 tonnes of aid has been flown to Turkey by the RAF, including thousands of thermal blankets to keep quake survivors warm in sub-zero temperatures.

International aid minister Andrew Mitchell last week committed an additional £25m in UK government funding to contribute to the aid effort.

The death-toll from the 6 February quake has now exceeded 40,000.

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