Belfast Telegraph

Aid offered to Turkey after quake

Ireland has offered humanitarian aid to Turkey in the wake of the devastating earthquake feared to have killed up to 1,000 people.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Irish Aid Rapid Response Corps has been ordered on standby to deploy to the region.

Emergency supplies from Irish Aid's humanitarian stockpiles in Brindisi, Italy, and Dubai have also been offered.

"It is imperative that the humanitarian response operation be rapid and effective to keep the death toll to an absolute minimum," he said.

The powerful 7.2-magnitude quake struck eastern Turkey, collapsing dozens of buildings into piles of twisted steel and chunks of concrete.

Desperate survivors dug into the rubble with their bare hands, trying to rescue the trapped and injured.

State-run television reported that 45 people were killed and 150 others injured in the eastern town of Ercis, but scientists estimated that up to 1,000 people could already be dead.

"While Turkey has enormous experience in responding to crises of this nature, I have asked officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to assess how Ireland can contribute to the relief effort," said Mr Gilmore.

"In particular we are ready to deploy members of the Irish Aid Rapid Response Corps to Turkey to work with agencies engaged in the operation. We are also prepared to carry out an airlift of emergency supplies from our stockpiles."

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