The government is making every effort to evacuate 13 Malaysians still trapped in several regions affected by the earthquake in south Turkiye, says Deputy Foreign Minister, Datuk Mohamad Alamin.
He said Wisma Putra was currently in discussions with the Malaysian Embassy in Ankara and the Consulate General in Istanbul on how to bring them back to Malaysia.
He also said the Malaysians involved comprised 11 men and two women working in several fields of professions in Turkiye.
“Although communicating with them is a challenge because the telecommunications service in the country is down, Alhamdulillah, they are all safe and healthy.
“We (Wisma Putra) will provide updates on the situation there from time to time,” he said at a press conference after sending off the Gaziantep Turkiye and Syrian Emergency Assistance Mission by Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations (MAPIM) at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport here, tonight.
He added that MAPIM was the first non-governmental organisation (NGO) to send humanitarian aid to Turkiye. The eleven-men delegation included four members of the media to assist in the search and rescue (SAR) operation for earthquake victims in Turkiye.
Meanwhile, MAPIM chief executive officer Dr Ahmad Sani Abdul Alim Araby said the humanitarian mission was expected to arrive in Istanbul tomorrow and would be in Turkiye and Syria for 17 days.
He said MAPIM had allocated RM1 million in funds for essential items to be donated to the victims in the affected territories.
“We will use the existing donations from the public to MAPIM because we had only launched the Emergency Aid Fund yesterday,” he said.
Yesterday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Ritcher scale struck the Pazarcik district in the Kahrananmaras province of Turkiye and shook several other regions including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay and Kilis.
According to the latest media reports, the tragedy has so far claimed more than 5,000 lives in Turkiye and Syria
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it expected the death toll from the tragedy to reach 20,000. — BERNAMA