The Road to Turkiye: Palestine Chronicle Follows Two Italian Earthquake Rescuers

The Italian and the Turkish rescuers exchange flags as a demonstration of solidarity. (Photo: Supplied)

By Romana Rubeo  

The Palestine Chronicle followed the journey of two Italian rescuers as they traveled to Turkiye along with the Italian Civil Defense Department following the deadly earthquake that hit the region on the night between February 5 and 6.

Turkiye and Syria were the hardest hit countries, with a death toll, as of February 16, estimated at over 41,000. Many are still trapped under the rubble.

The two Italians joined their country’s delegation, and thousands of rescue workers from across the region and the world to help in the search and recovery efforts.

The Italian delegation, which arrived in Turkiye on Tuesday with the Italian cruiser San Marco, arrived at the Turkish city of Antakya to bring essential goods and medicines. Their main mission has been to reach areas that had not received any help due to the massive destruction that has afflicted roads and the general infrastructure of the region.

So far they have built a field hospital to allow doctors to give first aid to the victims before being moved to bigger and better-equipped facilities.

“The situation is dire, almost 90% of all structures and buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged by the quake”, Christian Rossi, a member of the Abruzzo Region Civil Defense, told The Palestine Chronicle.

“Unfortunately, many people are still sleeping in the street despite the cold temperatures, trying to light fires to warm up.” he continued. “The luckiest among the people made homeless by the quake found a spot in some greenhouses to stay warm during the cold nights.”

Aid conveyed and rescue delegations have arrived from numerous countries. After days of uncertainty, Syria, which is under US-led sanctions, is finally receiving some of this aid, although, for some of the victims, it was too little, too late.

Rossi told the Palestine Chronicle that Italy’s efforts are ongoing. “Humanitarian aid is on its way. Italy was among the first countries to take part in this collective effort and we are contributing to the building of a hospital field that will start working in a few days, as soon as the medical staff arrives.”

What really surprised the Italian rescuer was the welcome they received from the local population, despite the hardship they are facing.

“When our ship docked, other sailors came to welcome us with cups of tea to thank us,” Rossi said. “Even if we do not speak the same language, we manage to communicate. I exchanged the Italian flag with a civil defense volunteer, who gave me the Turkish flag.”

“They thank us by hitting their head and their chest with their right hand to show us that we are now brothers in our mind and in our heart.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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