Chinese engineers' rescue experience in Türkiye: Going out to save people

(People's Daily Online) 09:13, February 16, 2023

As of Feb, 13, a rescue team set up by the Turkish subsidiary of China's construction machinery manufacturer Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology Co., Ltd. had helped rescue more than 30 people trapped under rubble after devastating twin 7.8-magnitude earthquakes shook southeast Türkiye on Feb. 6 local time.

Huang Yunbing and Yu Ke, Zoomlion's two Chinese engineers working in the company's Turkish subsidiary, were among the members of the rescue team who left Istanbul for the earthquake-stricken Hatay Province of Türkiye with excavators and other heavy equipment on the evening of Feb. 6.

A rescue operation site in earthquake-stricken Hatay Province, Türkiye. (People’s Daily Online/courtesy of Huang Yunbing)

"Although I'm not a professional rescuer, I think I should take part in the rescue operation. We have maintained frequent contacts with the local people, and they have been very friendly and warm to us," said Huang.

"We were among the first Chinese rescue forces to arrive at the quake-hit areas. Collapsed buildings could be seen everywhere, and the local rescue teams were in urgent need of heavy equipment for rescue operations. Our excavators were quickly sent to different sites," Huang recalled.

"Our job has been to clear the ruins. We use large machinery to clear a path through the debris so that professional rescuers can carry out their work and save people," Huang explained.

In the quake-stricken areas, Huang and his teammates slept three to four hours a day in their construction trucks and ate at temporary supply points, where they were provided with porridge and water, according to Huang.

A rescuer eats porridge at a temporary supply point. (People’s Daily Online/courtesy courtesy of Yu Ke)

The team members went wherever they were needed, and the longest period of time they worked without any significant breaks was more than 30 hours, Huang said.

"Every time a survivor was rescued, the local people would put their right hand on their chest and bow to us to show their gratitude. The local children would also bring us snacks. These moments touched our hearts deeply," said Yu.

Zoomlion's rescue team joined the China Search and Rescue team for rescue operations at noon on Feb. 11, said Huang, adding that they have also seen many other teams from China, including those from the Beijing Emergency Rescue Association, Green Boat Emergency Rescue, and Shenzhen Rescue Volunteers Federation (SRVF).

Different rescue teams have been working closely on their tasks, according to Huang.

A rescue operation site at earthquake-stricken Hatay Province, Türkiye. (People’s Daily Online/courtesy of Huang Yunbing)

"At noon on Feb. 10, after we rescued a middle-aged woman from the debris, local rescuers saw us and asked to borrow our life detector. There may have been another survivor under the rubble nearby, so they needed to use a life detector to locate the survivor before carrying out the next step of the rescue work. I immediately contacted the China Search and Rescue team, which was one kilometer away, and finally got two life detectors after communicating between multiple parties," Huang recalled.

“There was another time when local people sought help from the SRVF, because a father and his baby were trapped under the debris. We and rescuers from the SRVF worked together to rescue them. Unfortunately, they were already dead when they were brought out of the debris. The father had been holding his baby under him. Although we had gone all out to save lives, we felt helpless on many occasions," Huang said.

At 6:51 p.m. on Feb. 11 local time, Chinese and local rescue teams saved a boy from the debris through their joint efforts and carried him into an ambulance. At that time, it had been over 150 hours since the deadly earthquakes had struck, and the local temperature was low, which made it very difficult for the trapped people to survive.

A rescue operation site at earthquake-stricken Hatay Province, Türkiye. (People’s Daily Online/courtesy of Huang Yunbing)

"It was a residential building that had completely collapsed. We had searched it many times a few days ago, and helped rescued 13 people from it. Rescuers had basically decided to move to other ruins," Huang said.

"But the boy’s two elder brothers stayed up by the collapsed building all night, and were convinced that he was alive. After Turkish military found signs of life in the building using life detectors, we started digging at 2 p.m., and after four hours, the boy was finally rescued. I was very excited at that moment," Huang recalled.

On Feb. 13, Huang and Yu returned to Istanbul after seven consecutive days of rescue work at earthquake-stricken areas. The second group of Zoomlion engineers have now arrived at the scene and taken over from them. Rescue operations are still underway.

"So far, we don't plan to leave. We will stay to the end. We hope not to miss any miracle of life," said an executive of Zoomlion's subsidiary in Türkiye.

Besides Zoomlion, many other Chinese companies operating in Türkiye have also quickly joined the frontline of the rescue operation and made active efforts to raise funds and donate medicines, food, heating equipment, and other emergency supplies for people affected by the disaster.  

Related reading:

Rescue Diary in Türkiye: Heading for quake-hit Malatya without hesitation

Rescue Diary in Türkiye: We helped rescue a family of five on second day!

Rescue Diary in Türkiye: Chinese rescuers receive donuts from locals at quake ruins in Türkiye

Epicenter Diary: Chinese rescue team: No time to rest, keep searching

Rescue Diary in Türkiye: Love knows no boundaries as rescue efforts continue

Rescue Diary in Türkiye: rescue efforts continue amid freezing night

Rescue Diary in Türkiye: Hope for more miracles

Rescue Diary in Türkiye: Moments of kindness touch our hearts amid rescue operations

Rescue Diary in Türkiye: Professional transnational rescue operation - we did it!

(Web editor: Hongyu, Wu Chengliang)


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