PH rescue team’s mission in quake-ravaged Turkey may be cut short – OCD exec
MANILA, Philippines — The homecoming of the 82-man Philippine rescue team from quake-devastated Turkey may likely happen sooner than expected.
Office of Civil Defense (OCD) spokesperson Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV said Friday that although no final decision has been reached yet regarding the matter, it should be noted that there has been a decrease in rescue efforts in Turkey areas hit by the deadly earthquake.
Alejandro said they still need to hold a meeting to make a final recommendation.
A Reuters report also on Friday said that the focus of international aid agencies started to shift to the homeless and destitute, as many of the millions of people affected by the massive temblor in Turkey have been sleeping in tents, mosques, schools, or cars.
“I cannot say that as of now if ma-cut short or ma-extend, but sa akin personal na ano ko, mukhang cut short,” Alejandro told reporters when asked if there is a higher possibility that the mission will be terminated earlier than previously anticipated.
(I cannot say as of now if the trip will be cut short or extended, but for me personally, it seems their stay there will be cut short.)
“Kasi kung wala na talagang gamit (Because if there is really no more purpose for them to be there), we can cut short, and instead of two weeks, we can pull them out already,” he added.
For now, Alejandro said, the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team consisting of military, police, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority personnel is on standby.
“The USAR, was placed on standby, waiting for instruction with local authorities kung saan sila and next area nila (as to where they would be deployed next),” he said.
On Friday, the 82-man inter-agency contingent was on their seventh day of rescue operations. They arrived in Turkey on February 9.
Alejandro likewise reported that the Philippine rescue team has swept through 36 buildings destroyed by the deadly tremor in search of possible survivors and remaining bodies buried in the rubble.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that rattled Turkey and Syria on February 6 claimed the lives of 41,732 people, according to a Reuters report on Friday.
The death toll consists of 38,044 people in Turkey and 3,688 in Syria.