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‘Race against time’: How Hungarian team saved 17 people from Türkiye quakes

The Hungarian rescue team has saved 17 survivors from the rubble in quake-hit Türkiye.

The rescue team, also known as HUNOR, was among the first groups that reached out to Türkiye after two major earthquakes jolted the country’s southeastern region on February 6.

HUNOR head Peter Jackovics told Anadolu news agency that the first batch of 55 rescuers with two dogs arrived in Adana on February 7 before travelling to Hatay, one of the worst-hit areas in Türkiye.

The Turkish disaster agency, AFAD, assigned the rubble of the Ronesans Residence to the team, who worked for six days scrambling to find survivors.

“Time was of essence there,” Jackovics said.

“In Budapest and Hungary, we ordered the team to gather in six hours and moved right away. The team was comprised of 44 firefighters, six health professionals, and five military doctors from the army.

“Later, 16 people from the counterterrorism centre joined us. We were 71 people and two dogs in total. This made it possible to work on different sites at the same time.”

Jackovics said they saved 17 people including three children from the rubble in six days, and they recovered 29 bodies.

The team, he said, acted swiftly to rescue people from the debris of collapsed buildings since the first 100 hours were very crucial for people trapped in the rubble to survie.

Cold weather, dust, and loud noise were making the rescue efforts even more difficult, the team leader said. 

“We saved a woman named Sina after 16 hours of work,” he continued.

Jackovics said their camp was set up near their rescue zone and was protected by the Turkish police and soldiers.

READ MORE: ‘They were like family’: Albania rescuers ‘in anguish’ after Türkiye quakes

Türkiye quakes

On February 6, two powerful quakes with magnitudes of 7.7 and 7.6 struck Kahramanmaras, affecting 10 other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Elazig, and Sanliurfa.

More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the trembles that struck in less than 10 hours.

More than 41,000 people were killed by the back-to-back quakes in Türkiye, according to the latest official figures. Thousands of others were injured.

The disaster also killed over 5,800 in both the opposition-held and regime-held areas of Syria. bringing the total number of fatalities close to 47,000 as of Tuesday.

READ MORE: ‘Only two or three houses are left standing’: Türkiye quakes level village

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