Turkey denies help from the Republic of Cyprus, Civil Defence on standby to send rescuers

The Republic of Cyprus expressed its readiness to assist in the rescue efforts after the devastating earthquake in Turkey, but the Turkish side did not accept help from the Republic.

Foreign Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Kornelios Korneliou told CNA that “we conveyed this readiness both through the European Civil Protection Mechanism and through the Greek Cypriot negotiator, Menelaos Menelaou”, however the offer of help was not accepted by the Turkish side.

Korneliou explained that through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, each EU member state can express its readiness to provide assistance in cases of natural disasters such as earthquakes. “Following consultation with the Civil Defence we expressed our readiness to assist with a rescue team of 21 people and last night they replied ‘no thanks’,” he said.

He also said that the negotiator of the Greek Cypriot side, Menelaos Menelaou, conveyed to the Special Representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Ergün Olgun, “our desire and readiness to assist in the rescue efforts”, but “we were told that they do not need our help”.

It is noted that Turkish Cypriots have already been identified among the victims of the earthquake, while other Turkish Cypriots are still missing.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is also noted that from the very first moment, the Republic of Cyprus, through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, made available to the Mechanism a rescue team to help the rescue efforts. “This offer was rejected, as the needs, at least at this stage, require the immediate deployment of heavy-duty specialised rescue teams.

It is also stated that a coordination meeting will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the participation of the Citizens’ Commissioner, the Ministry of Health, the Red Cross and the Pancyprian Volunteer Coordinating Council. This meeting will look at practical ways of supporting those affected in Turkey and Syria.

A search and rescue team of the Cyprus Civil Defense stands ready to travel to Turkey to provide assistance following the devastating earthquake that left behind thousands of dead and more under the rubbles, Civil Defense Spokesperson Panagiotis Liasides told the Cyprus News Agency.

Liasides said that that the search and rescue team of the CD is certified with INSARAG External Classification from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and added that this certification corresponds to the Civil Defense’s operational readiness to respond, on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus, to humanitarian aid missions, where search and rescue is required, based on international standards.

Liasides also told CNA that an anti-earthquake code also applies and is implemented based on EU directives.

He advised citizens to remain calm and not to panic when there is an earthquake and to study thoroughly all the advice and recommendations by the Civil Defense.

Source: Cyprus News Agency