Damaged high-rise buildings pose difficulties for rescue after earthquake in Turkey, Syria
Published: Feb 10, 2023 10:31 PM
Photo: Global Times

Photo: Global Times

A large number of high-rise buildings have been severely damaged in the earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria early this week, which has impeded rescue work, images sent back by some Chinese commercial satellites showed. Currently, several rescue teams from China are searching for survivors in Turkey.

As of press time, the number of dead in Turkey had risen to 17,674, making it the deadliest quake in the country since 1939. Turkey Vice President Fuat Oktay announced on Friday that 121 people had been rescued from the rubble in the past 24 hours, with 29,622 search and rescue crews including teams from China taking part in the effort to find survivors.

Images were taken by a satellite from China Siwei Surveying and Mapping Technology Co. of the city of Iskenderun, which was severely jolted by the earthquake. It showed that many high-rise buildings were severely damaged, with heavy smoke rising from some of them.

Photo: Global Times

Photo: Courtesy of China Siwei Surveying and Mapping Technology Co.

Satellite images also showed that the earthquakes have damaged some important infrastructure and the main ports along the Mediterranean coast, with many piled up containers having toppled over.

Media reports said that hundreds of shipping containers had caught fire, sending an enormous plume of dense, black smoke into the sky. Local authorities said that the fire was extinguished on Tuesday but it then reignited. Military helicopters and planes were used to help bring the fire under control when fighting the flames from the land and sea did not work.

The Global Times has learned that remote sensing satellites have been widely used in monitoring the post-earthquake situation and the images can be used to make timely and effective analysis of the earthquake damage and help with rescue work. It can also help with analyzing the situation of roads, bridges and buildings for rescue teams.

Several Chinese teams are in epicenter regions to aid the local rescue effort, including one dispatched by the Chinese government which gathered people from the Beijing fire and rescue corps, the National Earthquake Response Support Service and a hospital. Several civilian rescue teams also arrived in Turkey, including eight members of Ramunion, a Zhejiang-based rescue union, and 120 people from China's Blue Sky Rescue.

These teams brought with them tons of equipment for rescue, communication and medical purposes, as well as rescue dogs.

On Thursday, working with a local team, Ramunion successfully rescued a family of five.