A fresh team of 51 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel is being rushed to earthquake-hit Turkiye even as two teams present there have launched rescue operations at multiple collapsed structures, Director General of the force Atul Karwal said Wednesday.
The third team of the federal contingency force has already been airlifted from Varanasi to Delhi and the rescuers are expected to leave for the disaster-struck nation by Wednesday night on board an IAF plane, he said.
According to an international press report, the death toll in the catastrophic Monday quake has surpassed 9,000 even as countries across the globe are rushing aid and manpower to provide succour to the people of Turkiye and neighbouring Syria.
Karwal told PTI that the two teams sent on Tuesday, comprising a total 101 personnel, have been given their area of operation in Turkiye and they are in action now deployed at Nurdagi in Gaziantep province while the other is present around Urfa area.
"Our teams have started the rescue work and authorities from the Indian Embassy and Turkiye administration are coordinating with them. The third team is preparing to depart after a request in this regard was received by the Indian government from Turkiye," the DG said.
Officials said the NDRF rescuers have been informed that as many as 600 buildings of varying sizes have collapsed across Turkiye after the massive quake.
The NDRF will work to extricate live victims from under the rubble, provide first-aid to the injured and entrust them to medical response authorities, another officer said.
He said the force is using chip and stone cutters to breach fallen concrete slabs and other infrastructure, and has deep radars that pick feeble sounds like the heartbeat or sound of a person.
The DG said the two teams that were sent are self-sufficient and can sustain themselves for almost a fortnight as they have carried rations, tents and other logistics for their survival in the disaster zone.
"We have provided our rescuers special winter clothing to work in the extreme cold climate of Turkiye. This clothing has been borrowed from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and some others," Karwal said.
The teams on ground have the QDA (quick deployed antenna) and satellite phones for communication even as we are able to get mobile phone text messages from the field commanders there, he informed.
Seven four-wheeled vehicles and trucks apart from four canines were also sent along the two teams that were airlifted by an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 heavy lift aircraft from the Hindon air base in Ghaziabad to the Adana airport in Turkiye on Tuesday.
The two flights took about 7.5 hours each to reach Turkiye.
Five women personnel are also part of the teams on ground, Karwal said, adding this was the first operation where female combatants of the NDRF have been deployed outside India.
Our women personnel are working shoulder-to-shoulder with their male colleagues, the DG said.
Based on the feedback of the two teams, the third team is also carrying some diesel, solar lanterns and ready-to-eat meals, he said.
The government on Monday decided to rush NDRF teams along with medical aid and relief material to Turkiye following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's instructions to offer all possible assistance to the country.
As Syria requested the Indian government for medicines and aid, the NDRF team was not sent there, the unnamed official said.