Wed | Dec 6, 2023

J’cans unaffected by Turkey killer quake – Johnson Smith

Published:Wednesday | February 8, 2023 | 1:43 AM
Rescue teams evacuate a survivor from the rubble of a destroyed building in Kahramanmaras, southern Turkey, Tuesday. A powerful earthquake hit southeast Turkey and Syria early Monday, toppling hundreds of buildings and killing more than 7,200.
Rescue teams evacuate a survivor from the rubble of a destroyed building in Kahramanmaras, southern Turkey, Tuesday. A powerful earthquake hit southeast Turkey and Syria early Monday, toppling hundreds of buildings and killing more than 7,200.

No Jamaicans were reportedly impacted by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks that rocked Turkey and Syria Monday, killing more than 7,200 people.

The disclosure was made by Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith in a statement issued Tuesday.

“Reports from our mission in Geneva and our honorary consul in Istanbul indicate that no Jamaicans have been affected, but I had been advised indirectly and informally of a Jamaican woman who has been living in Turkiye is safe and will be leaving that country later this week,” the minister said.

Turkiye is the spelling insisted on by Ankara for use by its diplomatic partners.

Johnson Smith said that efforts are under way by the ministry to develop a portal to allow Jamaicans travelling overseas temporarily to get registered. The minister said that she would soon announce the date of its availability, noting that it would be an important tool in helping to locate Jamaicans caught in emergencies while travelling overseas.

Meanwhile, the foreign affairs minister expressed sadness at the deaths, injuries, and displacement caused by the temblor.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the governments and people of Türkiye and Syria at this time. We hope that, given the scale of the crisis, assistance will reach those who need it quickly,” said Johnson Smith.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them as the situation continues to unfold.”

Search teams and aid poured into Turkey and Syria on Tuesday as rescuers worked in freezing temperatures and sometimes used their bare hands to dig through the rubble of flattened buildings to find survivors, The Associated Press reported.

The death toll is expected to rise.

With the damage spread widely, the relief operation has often struggled to reach devastated towns and voices that had been crying out from the wreckage fell silent.

More than 8,000 people have been pulled from the debris in Turkey alone, and 380,000 have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels, said Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay.