ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Following late Sunday’s powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck the Kurdistan Region and Kurdish provinces of Iran, Turkey quickly dispatched search-and-rescue personnel and began shipping humanitarian aid to victims in the region.
The earthquake has killed 348 people in Iranian Kurdistan, and seven in the Kurdistan Region, injuring over 6,600 in total.
A Turkish military cargo plane carrying a search-and-rescue team and humanitarian relief supplies landed in Kurdistan’s Sulaimani airport early Monday.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directory (AFAD) deployed 50 trucks of aid to Kurdistan which crossed the Ibrahim Khalil border gate.
In an online statement, AFAD said it sent 5,000 tents, 7,000 blankets, 92 personnel, and 11 vehicles to Sulaimani and Halabja near the epicenter of the earthquake.
During a press conference on Monday, Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani revealed that Erdogan’s office and the Foreign Ministry contacted him in the aftermath of the tremor.
“I want to offer my thanks to AFAD and President Erdogan. They have rushed to help on this dark day,” Barzani said.
The rapprochement between Erbil and Ankara due to a natural disaster comes after the latter’s robust objection to Kurdistan’s September referendum on independence and Turkish realignment with the Iranian-backed Iraqi offensive on Peshmerga forces.
The Turkish Red Crescent was also contributing to relief efforts, particularly in Halabja and the district of Darbandikhan.
Barzani’s Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim pledged continued support and said his country stood with the victims in Iraq and Iran.
People in Turkey’s Kurdish provinces of Sirnak, Hakkari, Mardin, Siirt, Diyarbakir, and Sanliurfa also felt the tremor, with thousands spending several hours of the cold autumn night outdoors.
No casualties or significant property damage was reported there.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany