Malaysia forms special team to coordinate humanitarian aid to Turkiye, Syria

PUTRAJAYA: The government has formed a task force to coordinate humanitarian aid efforts from Malaysia to Turkiye and Syria following the earthquake that struck both countries on Monday.

The task force was jointly led by the Foreign Ministry and the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) with the main objective of ensuring all preparations and planning for humanitarian aid channels to countries affected by the earthquake disaster run smoothly, orderly, and in line with the guidelines of the governments concerned.

The Foreign Ministry, in a press release on Wednesday (Feb 8), said a coordination meeting between this task force and Malaysian NGOs will be held this morning.

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Following the disaster, Malaysia on Monday night immediately sent the elite 70-member Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) team to Turkey and was among the first teams from foreign countries to arrive in the country to assist the Turkish government in the search and rescue mission.

The SMART team arrived in Istanbul at 6am (local time) on Feb 7 and was moved to Adana – located 500km from Ankara and 987km from Istanbul – for a search and rescue mission in the area, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry also advised Malaysians in Turkiye, Syria, and nearby countries to continue to be vigilant as well as to always follow the latest developments and comply with the advice issued by local authorities from time to time.

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They are advised to immediately contact the Malaysian Embassies in Amman, Ankara, or Beirut, or the Malaysian Consulate General in Istanbul, or the Malaysian Honorary Consulate in Damascus for immediate assistance.

So far, nearly 8,000 victims have been reported killed in Turkey and Syria due to a strong earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. – Bernama