Earthquake in Türkiye and Syria
On the night of 5 February, a severe earthquake occurred in southern Türkiye on the border with Syria. The quake demolished buildings in both countries, leaving many dead, injured or missing. Below is a review of the role played by Sweden and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency in the ensuing rescue work.
Major earthquakes bring major challenges for the countries involved.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) is evaluating the situation on an ongoing basis and is preparing the rapid dispatch of resources in the event of requests from the countries involved. The Agency is maintaining a close dialogue with the Government Offices, and planning collaboration is also underway with other Nordic countries.
Sweden provides this support within the framework of established structures for international cooperation. For example, through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, ECPM, in which Turkey is a participating state.
- Just over 350 pallets of medical supplies are on their way with trucks from Sweden to Syria and Turkey. The total donation is divided equally between the two countries. The medical supplies is a donation from the company OneMed.
- ICT experts and technical experts as well as two light base camps (LBC) are assisting the UN rapid response team (UNDAC). LBCs are simple-model housing and office options for 24 people. Transport to Türkiye was carried out in collaboration with DEMA in Denmark and ESAF in Finland. This support is now under further development using equipment from Denmark and other countries mainly consisting of prefabricated buildings to be set up as office premises for the UN and others.
- After cooperation between Sweden and the EU, the European Commission has decided to activate EU joint preparedness within the framework of rescEU. This means that 500 emergency homes each with room for around 5 people have been sent from Sweden to the stricken area. This is a huge shipment totalling nearly a hundred trucks which will take time to transport and install. One advantage of this type of emergency accommodation is that these dwellings can be lived in for a longer period of time while reconstruction of demolished buildings is carried out.
- The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has established accommodation and office facilities in the form of light base camps for UNHCR.
- MSB has sent 1 000 family tents to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with half being set up in Türkiye and the other half planned to be sent to Syria.
- MSB is working on an activation of the rescEU healthcare stock to send ventilators and other healthcare material. This is a joint project with the business sector and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare.
- Air transport of 300 family tents and 1 500 blankets, larger tents, beds, mattresses, electricity generators, food etc. including a donation of tents from the Swedish Lions Club, in which the Agency was in charge of contact with recipients plus transport and logistics. These materials are now in place for use in Antakya.
- A Swedish search and rescue team that was in Türkiye for 7 days. The team included dogs and healthcare resources. The team's main mission was to locate and free trapped people and transport them out of the ruins. The Civil Contingencies Agency led this input. The armed forces provided the operation with medical care and search and rescue teams consisting of dogs, dog handlers and equipment.
- A construction engineer/expert has been part of an EU Civil Protection Team (EUCPT).
- Four experts (two technical experts on information and communication systems/ICT, one administrator, one logistician) have been part of an EU Technical Assistance and Support Team (EU TAST). This input was carried out within the framework of Nordic collaboration.
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Facts about the EU Civil Protection Mechanism
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency is the point of contact for the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Consequently, the agency both receives requests and offers help to countries as well as, if necessary, mediating support from other countries to Sweden.
In Brussels, there is a 24-hour service which coordinates the efforts of member states entitled the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, ERCC. The task of the centre is to analyse and evaluate information about events both inside and outside the EU. The ERCC also coordinates member country requests for assistance and informs countries in need of the assistance available.
MSB Press Office
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency Press- and Communications Office is available to media and journalists 24 hours on +46 10-240 44 44 and via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org during office hours.