Fire and Rescue NSW Firefighters deployed to Türkiye honoured by community at 'welcome home' dinner - Sydney

Published: 20 Mar 2023 07:38pm

The 54 Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Urban Search and Rescue specialists, who formed part of a 72-strong contingent of Australian emergency services workers to earthquake-damaged Türkiye, have been honoured at a 'welcome home' dinner held by Sydney's Türkish community at the FRNSW Emergency Services Academy at Orchard Hills.

The firefighters spent two weeks in Türkiye assisting with the response and recovery efforts in the aftermath of catastrophic earthquakes that rocked the province of Hatay, claiming over 52 000 lives.

As part of the support mission, the team took over more than 22 tonnes of equipment that was used to search many of the areas most seriously affected by the earthquake.

The firefighters and their colleagues also recovered the bodies of 34 victims, returned to their loved ones.

The deployment involved difficult and exhausting work over long hours and crews experienced additional quakes and aftershocks while in the field, often leading to further building collapses.

The dinner was organised by Sydney's Türkish community to say 'thanks' to the firefighters, police, paramedics, medical team, engineers and federal officials who formed the Australian contingent.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter has expressed his pride in the Australian efforts in Türkiye:

"Our firefighters are considered amongst the best in the world and they deserve to be thanked for the way in which they went about providing assistance to the people of Türkiye in the aftermath of these devastating earthquakes." Commissioner Baxter said.

"They were deployed in the heart of the areas worst affected and were required to work long, arduous hours in very tough conditions," he said.

"I can't thank them enough for their bravery and commitment and I'm very happy the members of Sydney's Türkish community have had an opportunity to express their gratitude through this function."

Updated: 20 Mar 2023 07:42pm

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