SCDF sends 20-man team to Turkey for disaster relief after 7.8 magnitude earthquake

Lending a hand in a time of crisis.

Daniel Seow | February 08, 2023, 10:40 AM

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has responded to the request for humanitarian assistance in Turkey and will be sending a team of elite disaster relief personnel there.

via SCDF on Facebook

This follows the massive earthquake which struck central Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday (Feb. 6). As of Feb. 7, the death toll has risen to 4,850 and counting, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Guardian reported that thousands more have been injured, and the quake collapsed at least 5,775 buildings. This poses severe challenges to rescuers, many of whom are still searching for survivors amidst the rubble.

A winter storm in the region is exacerbating the disaster, according to CNN meteorologists, with rescuers having to battle the heavy rain and snow.

Operation Lionheart to be deployed within 24 hours

On Feb. 7, the SCDF announced on Facebook that an advance team of 20 SCDF personnel would be deployed to assist in the disaster rescue efforts.

Codenamed Operation Lionheart, they are part of a 79-member contingent on standby round-the-clock.

This contingent was formed in 1990. Since then, it has been deployed on 19 search and rescue or humanitarian relief assistance missions throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Operation Lionheart Paramedics giving medical checkups for villagers affected by floods in Attapeu Province, Laos, Aug 2018 - via SCDF on Facebook.

This particular team would comprise officers from the SCDF's elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART), as well as paramedic specialists and a doctor.

The team was scheduled to be deployed within 24 hours.

SCDF stated they will provide further updates on the deployment once available.

In the comments below the SCDF post, many Facebook users expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the disaster relief team, and others offered prayers or well-wishes for their safety.

via SCDF on Facebook

One particular commenter seemed particularly inspired by the post.

via SCDF on Facebook

According to Reuters, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said early on Monday that 45 countries had offered help with search and rescue efforts. He also added that some 9,000 personnel were taking part in the rescue operations.

Top picture via Barry Andrews on Twitter.