UK-Med sends assessment team to Turkey following devastating earthquake

7 February: Monday’s devastating earthquake in south east Turkey and north west Syria was the biggest to affect the region since 1938.

So far, it’s estimated that more than 5000 people have died and sadly we know this will rise significantly in the coming hours and days.   

The level of damage in the region has destroyed hundreds of houses, leaving thousands homeless. It had been snowing for three days leading up to the earthquake, however, many people remain outside fearing further aftershocks.

This morning, our CEO David Wightwick and a team of five boarded a flight from Birmingham to Gaziantep, Turkey, near to the epicentre of the first earthquake. The team – made up of surgeons, paramedics, emergency medical staff, operations and logistics staff – will lead the UK’s initial medical assessment team.

The response so far

“Our field hospitals and significant medical equipment can be mobilised from the UK very quickly to help us respond to any needs we identify or are requested to support,” says David Wightwick, UK-Med CEO. “More NHS staff are likely to join us, but it’s vital to arrive first and see how we can best help.”

“We are likely to face a litany of logistical barriers, such as closed roads and damaged bridges and infrastructure. Our overall aim will be to help support an overwhelmed health system and alleviate the suffering of those affected by the disaster.”

After landing in the region, the team will conduct a health assessment of the disaster affected areas, including assessing the functionality of any pre-existing health facilities.

We’ll also be liaising with local and international partners, Ministry of Health in Turkey, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other organisations on the ground to identify the most urgent humanitarian need.

David adds: “This will be an international co-ordinated response, and UK-Med and my entire team are ready to deliver our crucial emergency medical care where it will be most needed.”

How you can help

UK-Med has more than thirty years experience of responding to natural disasters and providing urgent medical and health care. But we cannot do our work without you.

If you are able to, please support our Turkey – Syria Earthquake appeal today. It only takes a couple of minutes to donate, but the impact of your gift for those surviving this earthquake can last a lifetime.

We will keep you regularly updated with the team’s work through our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram) and by email.

Feature image: Hatay, Turkey, 9 February 2023. Members of the UK’s International Search & Rescue Team form part of the UK’s response, working in coordination with other search and rescue teams looking for survivors. Credit: UK ISAR Team

Donate today to get urgent medical support where it’s needed, fast.

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