Malaysia-operated Istanbul Airport contributes to earthquake relief efforts in Turkey

As Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) is operated by Malaysia Airports, it’s only right that they get involved in rescue efforts during the recent earthquakes in Turkey.

Malaysia Airports’ managing director, Iskandar Mizal Mahmood, revealed today that the company’s operations at the Istanbul airport had made it possible for cargo and rescue flights to use the airport during the nation’s recent earthquake.

According to Iskandar, the airport is currently playing a significant part in search and rescue (SAR) efforts as a result of the Turkish government designating it as one of the two rescue and logistics hubs as well as a crisis management centre and providing it with the resources it needs, such as food for rescue teams.

“As the operator of this airport, we are fully committed to facilitating all rescue flights and cargo operations that pass through SAW.

“The first rescue flight took off at 8:41am local time and until now, six similar flights have taken off from the airport carrying 1,400 rescue personnel,” he said in a statement today.

Iskandar Mizal said that he is also closely collaborating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to offer additional assistance by housing 75 members of the Malaysian Special Search and Rescue Team (SMART) at the airport’s hotel until they can be transferred to the affected areas.

He expressed his sadness over the tragedy and sent his condolences to the quake victims’ families.

As a show of solidarity with those affected by the disaster, Malaysia is sending the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) to Turkey to assist in search and rescue efforts to locate victims of the earthquake in southern Turkey.

According to Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim directed Wisma Putra and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Armizan Mohd Ali to take immediate action by sending a SAR team to Turkey in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck ten regions.

The earthquake that hit the southern region of Kahramanmaras at 4:17am local time (0117 GMT) early yesterday morning measured 7.4 on the Richter scale, with its epicentre at Pazarcik district.

Media reports have indicated that the earthquake has taken at least 912 lives in southern Turkey, with another 476 deaths recorded in Syria so far.

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