site.btaUPDATED Bulgarian Volunteers in Kahramanmaras Find Five Survivors
A team of Bulgarian volunteers working in quake-hit Kahramanmaras on Thursday evening found five survivors in the ruins of two buildings. Georgi Vlaykov, who heads a 27-strong team of the National Association of Volunteers in the Republic of Bulgaria (NAVRB), told a BTA correspondent in Plovdiv that they are expecting heavy equipment to arrive to rescue the people.
At another site, an Austrian team is trying to recover another two survivors who, too, were discovered by the Bulgarian team. On Thursday evening the volunteers were joined by a Bulgarian firefighter with a rescue dog, who drove 4,000 km to the disaster area from Sweden, where he lives and works, Vlaykov said.
Regrettably, no survivors were found at five other ruined buildings that were searched with the help of the dog.
"It is getting ever colder and difficult for us and for the locals, who spend the night in tents," the head of the team said. In his words there are neighbourhoods where one in three buildings has collapsed. "People don't lose hope, they're waiting for volunteers, they take us to places where they have heard somebody talking. Some people's mothers and children are under the debris," he noted.
"The Turkish authorities send us to definite addresses. That's why we rely heavily on the interpreters who calm down the locals and tell us the number of occupants in a particular building," the volunteer said. The group has contacted the local community of people who emigrated from Bulgaria a long time ago, and they helped them with interpreting on Thursday evening.
The rescuers from all over the world are based in a camp some 3 km from the city. The teams who are airlifted to the site with all their gear count on local bussing arrangements. The Bulgarian volunteers have cars of their own but they are running out of fuel. It is not yet clear where food can be purchased.
"The Israeli army and the Russian volunteers have huge camps, they are doing an enormous job and will probably stay longer," Vlaykov explained. The Bulgarian volunteers are planning to finish their on-site work on Sunday of Monday. Then, after a day of rest, they will travel back to Bulgaria.
Funds needed to pay for the volunteers' stay in Turkiye are being raised on a bank account that can be seen on the NAVRB website, https://navrb.bg.