On February 6, 2023, Turkey and Syria were hit by a destructive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. The epicentre of the earthquake was located at 34 km west of Gaziantep in Turkey. The earthquake destroyed buildings and more than 30,000 people lost their lives. After the earthquake, the region was also jolted by more than 70 aftershocks, which resulted in even more destruction and lose of lives.
The relief materials and medical equipment started to pour in to the affected regions from all around the world. The Government of India launched Operation Dost to help both Turkey and Syria in search and rescue efforts and also provided humanitarian assistance through life-saving emergency medicines, medical equipment and critical care drugs.
Operation Dost: First Responder to Regions Affected by Earthquake
Indian government’s launch of Operation Dost is considered to be a first responder approach, providing quick humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to regions affected by earthquake. The Turkish envoy, Firat Sunel, said that India was among the first nations that came forward in providing assistance to Turkey after devastating earthquake of February 6. India dispatched teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to the affected areas in Turkey on the evening of February 6.
What Is Operation Dost?
Humanitarian Assistance to Quake-Hit Turkey and Syria
The Government of India launched Operation Dost to help those in need in earthquake-hit countries of Turkey and Syria. Under Operation Dost, India is sending an enormous amount of humanitarian assistance to both Turkey and Syria.
As part of the operation, the Government of India has already sent tons of relief material to both countries in collaboration with the Indian Army. The government has sent relief materials, mobile hospitals and specialised search and rescue teams to Turkey.
Deployed Indian Army Personnel in Search and Rescue Operations
In the worst-hit areas of Turkey and Syria, the Government of India has deployed many army personnel to help in search and rescue operations. Three self-sustaining teams of the NDRF, with above 150 specially trained personnel, as well as the dog squad, specialised vehicles and other supplies, are already putting their experience in quake-hit areas of Turkey. Tonnes of specialised equipment and other relief materials have already reached Turkey.
Setting Up of Field Hospital by the Medical Team
The Government of India has sent emergency medicines and equipment, such as portable ECG machines, patient monitors and other essential medical items, to Syria.
The NDRF teams are providing assistance in rescue operations at Gaziantep, whereas the field hospital set up by the medical team in Iskenderun has started functioning, which is providing assistance through surgical and emergency wards and x-ray labs and medical stores.
India Stands Firmly with the People of Turkey
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has said that India will keep trying to save maximum number of lives under Operation Dost.
Seventh Flight of Operation Dost Bringing More Disaster Relief Consumables
The seventh Operation Dost flight reached earthquake-hit Syria on February 12 with over 23 tons of relief material, including gensets, sleeping mats, solar lamps, tarpaulins, blankets, emergency and critical care medicines and disaster relief consumables.
For Turkey, the seventh Operation Dost flight is carrying medical equipment such as ECG, patient monitor, anaesthesia machine, syringe pumps, glucometer, blankets and other relief materials.
Other Humanitarian Relief Operations by India
Previously, India has also participated in other humanitarian relief operations, including sending an Indian Air Force aircraft to deliver 25 tonnes of relief supplies for the Hurricane Katrina victims in the United States, sending 4 aircrafts and 2 naval ships under Operation Castor to Maldives for relief operations after the Tsunami of 2004, sending its forces under Operation Rainbow to Sri Lanka to carry out rescue operations after the 2004 Tsunami, India was among the first countries to send aid to Myanmar following the cyclone Nargis which hit Myanmar in 2008 and India sent 16 rescue teams and tonnes of relief materials to Nepal in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes.