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DFA promises assistance to earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Wednesday that assistance would be given to Filipinos affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

The Philippine Embassy in Ankara and Damascus both initiated the so-called “crisis control management” as soon as the earthquake shook southern Turkey, according to Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza.

She told reporters at a briefing that “they would do what needs to be done and bring what needs to be delivered to truly be able to answer the demands that have been highlighted by different (Filipino groups)”.

According to Daza, both embassies have a backup plan in place to guarantee that the host government is consulted in the event that repatriation of the distressed Filipinos is necessary and to secure the appropriate assistance for them.

She said that as of the time of writing, none of the 248 Filipinos living in the impacted districts of Turkey and the 60 others in Syria had asked to be deported.

She continued by saying that both embassies are in touch with the Filipino populations under their control.

“So what happens is that they would get in touch with all the leaders to find out how the Filipinos and the people in that particular group are doing. It’s not an easy chore, especially if there is a national tragedy, so this is something that has actually happened and is still happening, she said.

Numerous Filipinos are among the displaced, some of them are forced to stay in their cars in the middle of the winter, according to Weng Timoteo, vice president of the Filipino community in Türkiye.

One Filipina wanted to travel from Hatay to Istanbul, but Timoteo claimed it would be “impossible” to do so because the majority of the roads have been damaged and are unusable.

We have been sharing information about what we currently know about our afflicted fellow Filipinos with the Philippine Consulate General in Istanbul, she added.

According to the most recent local reports, as of February 8 the dead toll in Syria and Turkey has already surpassed 7,200.

At least 13 million people in Türkiye were reportedly affected by the earthquake and the severe aftershocks that followed, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip, who declared a state of emergency in the 10 most severely affected provinces.

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