site.btaUPDATED 27-Strong Team of Bulgarian Volunteers' Association Arrives in Quake-Hit Area in Turkiye
The 27-member team of the National Association of Volunteers in the Republic of Bulgaria (NADVB) is already in the Turkish town of Kahramanmaras and working on site, head of the group Georgi Vlaykov told BTA on Thursday. The volunteers left for the earthquake-hit area on February 7 with two off-road jeeps, one of which is an off-road ambulance, emergency medical transport equipment, generators and rescue equipment.
The group arrived after 32 hours of driving in huge traffic jams because of the many people travelling to the affected areas to help, Vlaykov said. Logistically, he explained, it was a big problem because there was no fuel, food or water on the road and the gas stations were empty. The team arrived late on Wednesday evening in Kahramanmaras, set up camp, and immediately brought in an operations team to begin work on site.
We went to a six-storey collapsed block from which only the roof was visible, Vlaykov said. In the block, 20 out of 35 flats were habitable. An initial search found two survivors and two victims of the earthquake. "We did a search with a parabolic microphone, which is used in such cases. We checked in places where locals said they heard sounds, but found nothing," Vlaykov added. The team worked until 5 a.m., rested a little and any moment they expect to be directed where they will work on Thursday.
Vlaykov noted that the current temperature in his tent was minus 6C, and the team was woken up by an aftershock.
The city of Kahramanmaras, with a population of over one million, is the sixteenth largest in Turkiye. People are working around the clock, everyone is at the end of their strength and very exhausted, Vlaykov said. He detailed that people are in tents provided by the government, and some also settle in entrances of residential buildings. There are fires lit all over the city, burning all sorts of things to keep warm, the volunteer said. He added that there are many foreign teams working in different places. The Bulgarian team has been assigned two people who speak English, who even sleep with them, the volunteer clarified. A donator has sent them an empty bus which they will use as a basecamp. The same person will also bring them a few barrels of fuel from Ankara, because in the affected region fuel supply is a problem.
A bank account has been published on NAVRB's website to raise funds to cover the volunteers' stay in Turkiye.