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OCD: Gov’t evaluating quake-hit Syria’s appeal for help

The Syrian government has made an appeal to the Philippine government for assistance following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck the country, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said.

The OCD said the request of the Syrian government is being evaluated already.

"Nakatanggap ang ating Department of Foreign Affairs, similar flash appeal from the Syrian government... appeal for international assistance, 'yun ang term na ginagamit," OCD spokesperson Assistant Secretary Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV told reporters.

"That is what we are evaluating now with DFA, kung either we can send another contingent or send the donations or relief items. Wala pa pong desisyon diyan but we already received, through DFA, a similar call from Syria and we are evaluating it," he added.

The Philippine government has sent a response team to Turkey, where the epicenter is. According to the OCD, the team has already arrived in Istanbul.

The contingent, composed of emergency medical and urban search and rescue teams from 525th ECBn, PA, 505th SRG, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, the Department of Health, and the OCD, boarded Turkish Airline flight TK85 at NAIA Terminal 3.

According to Alejandro, the OCD is preparing another team to go to Turkey.

"We will be preparing either a replacement or additional team doon sa Turkey in case there is a need to extend, hindi naman puwedeng sila pa din ang magtratrabaho on an extended period, so we have to bring in fresh bodies, fresh movement," he said.

The death toll in the massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria has soared to more than 16,000, but is expected to rise sharply as rescue efforts pass the 72-hour mark that disaster experts consider the most likely period to save lives. — BM, GMA Integrated News