A Turkish cargo plane moments after it landed at Sulaimani airport on Monday, November 13, 2017. Photo: Cetiner Cetin
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A Turkish military cargo plane carrying medical supplies and a search-and-rescue team landed in Sulaimani on Monday to aid the victims of last night’s earthquake which struck the Kurdistan Region, Turkey’s Health Minister Ahmet Demircan confirmed.
Demircan added dispatching the aid was not at Baghdad’s request, but that they decided to do so, a move which was appreciated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
At least seven people were killed
in Darbandikhan and Sulaimani in Sunday night’s earthquake that shook the Kurdistan Region, local officials said, and more than 300 hospitalized for injuries. The epicenter of the earthquake was near the town of Halabja near the Iranian border.
The plane was loaded with "A 20-strong search team and another medical team of 10 from the Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), two vehicles, 60 tents, 320 blankets and medical supplies," Turkish Anadolu Agency reported.
Sending the humanitarian assistance comes at a time when Baghdad has imposed a travel ban to and from the Kurdistan Region’s airports, as part of its harsh measures in response to the Region’s September 25 independence referendum.
“Turkey stands with the brotherly victims of the earthquake,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in a statement on Sunday night, adding his country was “greatly saddened” by casualties.
The Turkish Red Crescent also announced it was sending supplies from warehouses in Adana, Mus and Elazig to Erbil. The aid includes 3,000 tents, 10,000 blankets, a mobile kitchen, 3,000 heaters and 10,000 beds.
The shipment will be delivered to Erbil and the aid organization will work with its Iraqi and Iranian counterparts, it added.
"Our pioneering teams from [Erbil] and Silopi warehouses are on their way. We estimate that about 20-30 thousand people are affected by the earthquake," the Turkish Red Crescent quoted the organization's vice president, Dr. Kerem Kinik as saying.
US geological survey reported it was a 7.3-magnitiude earthquake. The local geological society assured people that “there was no fear of a second earthquake."