The Netherlands is sending its specialist search and rescue team to Turkey to help emergency services dealing with the aftermath of the severe earthquake at the weekend.
So far 641 people are known to have died after the quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, struck southern Turkey and northern Syria early on Monday morning, but the death toll is expected to rise considerably.
Thousands more are injured and trapped under rubble in an area spanning more than 300km across the Turkish provinces of Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras and the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Hama.
Foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra said an urban search and rescue team comprising police, military personnel, firefighters and first aid responders was heading to the region.
‘Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and the many injured Turks and Syrians,’ Hoekstra said in a message on Twitter.
Nearly 900 buildings have been destroyed by the earthquake, Turkish officials said, including a hospital in the coastal city of Iskanderoun. Vice-president Fuat Okray said rescue efforts were being hampered by bad weather.
Shocked by the news of the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and Syria. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and the many injured Turks and Syrians. The Netherlands will send an Urban Search and Rescue team to Türkiye. @MevlutCavusoglu 1/2
— Wopke Hoekstra (@WBHoekstra) February 6, 2023