KUALA LUMPUR: The Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) deployed to carry out search and rescue (SAR) operations in Turkiye is highly experienced with capabilities that meet international standards, says National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA).
Its deputy director-general (Operations Implementation Division) Meor Ismail Meor Akim said the task force has a complete range of expertise comprising 60 SMART personnel, six members of the Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) and the Civil Defence Force (APM) (four).
“This completes the team. Medical expertise is provided by the APM personnel while the JBPM personnel make up the special hazardous chemical team (Hazmat) and the K9 unit,“ he said when appearing as a guest on Bernama TV’s Malaysia Petang Ini programme today.
The team also brought all the necessary equipment with them from Malaysia, he added.
Meor Ismail said most of the equipment, including operational equipment, telecommunications, generators and appropriate gear were flown using commercial flights provided by the Turkish Embassy in cooperation with Wisma Putra, while the rest would be delivered by cargo.
According to him the team was certified by the United Nation’s International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) in 2016 and is allowed to carry out SAR operations independently, adding that the team had carried out operations in Turkiye in 1999, Gujarat, India (2000), Acheh, Indonesia (2004), Pakistan (2005), the Philippines (2006) and Nepal (2015).
He said according to international procedures, the team is required to return to Malaysia after 14 days, adding that the decision to send a new team will be determined later.
Earlier, the SAR personnel arrived in Istanbul at 11 am (Malaysian time) and are currently on their way to Adana Sakirpasa Airport which is one of the entry points for international aid provided by the Turkish government.
A strong earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale was reported to have hit the southern region of Turkiye, Kahramanmaras and the Turkiye Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) announced that the disaster occurred at 4.17 a.m. Monday local time, centred in the Pazarcik district.
According to the latest media report at least 5,000 people were killed in Turkiye and Syria.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that up to 20,000 people may die from the earthquakes. - Bernama