The 70-member Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) that was deployed for the search and rescue (SAR) mission in Turkiye due to a devastating earthquake, have been split into smaller units according to the needs and objectives of the mission.
The National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) in a statement today said the first deployment of the SMART team members are based at various locations in Gaziantep, Adana and Istanbul.
According to the statement, the second SMART team which is scheduled to leave for Turkiye tonight comprises 70 elite Search and Rescue (SAR) members who are trained to carry out such missions.
The team is made up of 20 members from SMART, 30 from the Fire and Rescue Department and another 20 from the Malaysian Civil Defence Forces.
“NADMA director-general (Datuk Khairul Shahril Idrus) has assigned the Commanders from SMART and NADMA to take charge as Operations Commanders for both teams, now known as Team MAS-01 (First Deployment) and Team MAS-10 (Second Deployment).
“The second team will also be accompanied by two officers from NADMA and three media members from official medias (RTM and Bernama (Pertubuhan Berita Nasional Malaysia),” said the statement.
A massive earthquake measuring 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale hit Southern Turkiye and neighbouring Syria on Monday morning, which was followed by two more strong quakes.
The affected areas include Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis while tremors of the devastating earthquake was also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.
NADMA in the statement said efforts are being made to send a K-9 unit but it would depend on the procedures and current situation.
“The first K-9 unit could not be sent due to several issues with procedures in Malaysia as well as in Turkiye,” said the statement.
Meanwhile, NADMA added that the SAR operation was being carried out using the United Nations International Search And Rescue Advisory Group (UN INSARAG) mechanism by NDMO Turkiye – AFAD and UNOCHA which serves as the secretariat for UN INSARAG.
“Only teams with UN INSARAG certification are allowed to take part in the operation,” said the statement. — BERNAMA