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Turkey Earthquake: Portuguese Rescue Team Decorated

The Portuguese search and rescue team operating in Turkey during the aftermath of the February earthquakes were decorated today in Ankara by Turkish President Recep Erdogan, revealed the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC).

According to the same source, the distinction was given to the commander and head of mission, José Guilherme, who led a Joint Operational Force (FOCON) comprising 52 personnel.

The Portuguese team included elements of the Special Civil Protection Force of ANEPC, GNR, Lisbon Fire Sappers, and the National Institute of Medical Emergency, accompanied by six dogs.

In Turkey, FOCON spent more than a week in the city of Antakya/Hatay, having managed to rescue a 10-year-old child alive.

The Portuguese rescue team had already been decorated, on the 22nd of February by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, with the Order of Merit, for the same mission in Turkey.

The earthquakes that hit Turkey, and also Syria, caused more than 50,000 fatalities and left about two million people displaced, while the Turkish Presidency estimates that the earthquakes have caused direct damage of almost one hundred billion euros, equivalent to 9% of the country’s GDP.

In addition to the Portuguese team, the Turkish Presidency also decorated other international rescue teams.

Samantha Gannon

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Photo: JM

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