Jerusalem, Oct. 26 – Israel dispatches a first set of mobile homes to eastern Turkey on Wednesday. Israel offered the help within hours of Sunday’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake. Initially, Turkey said it would try to handle the disaster alone but turned to other nations once the magnitude of the disaster became clear.
The official death toll is already close to 500 and is expected to rise significantly as the chances of finding many more survivors diminish.
At this stage the Israeli help is in the form of mobile homes. The sturdy accommodation will house some of the thousands made homeless in the Van and Ercis areas. The homes will be delivered by plane but Israel is also preparing to send by ship a far larger quantity of what Israelis refer to as caravillas towards the weekend.
Israel told Ankara it is also prepared to send rescue units to Turkey should the need arise. Jerusalem hopes this show of goodwill, coupled with Turkey’s assistance to Israel in last year’s Carmel forest fire, will form a foundation on which to build better ties. The countries have been at odds for several years because of differences over the Gaza Strip.
Israeli has deployed search and rescue teams, field hospitals and advanced rescue equipment at numerous locations around the world in recent years, perhaps most notably after the devastating earthquakes that rocked Turkey in 1999 and Haiti last year.
Israel announced this week it is setting up an earthquake training center where citizens will experience tremor recreations and learn how to deal with them.