Ankara : "India stands with Turkiye just like a friend in need," said National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officer Ravinder, part of India's ongoing rescue operations in Turkey under 'Operation Dost'.
"NDRF is participating in rescue operations and is making efforts to rescue those stuck in the ruins. The police and army are working together for the same," Ravinder said. "We are getting good support from the local people and we want to show that just like a friend stands with a friend in time of need, India stands with Turkiye," he said.
"We have saved two people and have also retrieved various dead bodies, almost close to 22. The rescue operation will continue," he said.
Earlier, echoing the same sentiments, Turkiye's Ambassador to India Firat Sunel in an interview with ANI said, "Operation Dost is a very important operation. And this is the operation of friendship because DOST is the word in Hindi and Turkish which means friends. And this operation shows our friendship between India and Turkey and friends always help each other."
Videos from the ground show rescue operations in full swing in Turkiye. Machines can be seen removing rumbles of dilapidated buildings.
NDRF officers at the scene can be seen donning jackets with the 'Operation Dost' logo. Special vans have been dedicated to rescuing operations.
Videos show buildings in complete shambles with ambulances on the road. There is also an India-NDRF medical post.
The NDRF's commanding officer Gurminder told ANI, "The operation has been going on for six days now. We rescued one person yesterday. The chances of finding more survivors are less now but we are still continuing with the rescue operations," he said.
"We have NDRF's vehicles, female officers,s and NDRF's dogs with us for the rescue operations. Turkiye's disaster management authority is providing us with fuel for our day-to-day operations. We are getting good support from the local administration," he said.
"We still have hope as we rescued one person after 104 hours," Gurminder said.
He said that NDRF's work usually continues for six-nine days, as long there is the hope of finding a survivor.
While India's National Disaster Response Force miraculously rescued a six-year-old girl and made headlines, a lot of the credit for the daring rescue ought to be reserved for 'Romeo' and 'Julie', part of the NDRF's dog squad.
Romeo and Julie succeeded where machines failed. The dog squad was instrumental in detecting the little girl's whereabouts under tonnes of rubble. Without their help, the little girl could not have survived.
The NDRF is currently making an all-out effort to save lives and find a living soul in the rubble at the disaster site at Nurdagi and in different parts of Turkey which were badly affected by the earthquake on February 6.
Dog handler Constable Kundan explained how Julie found the little girl, identified as Beren, alive in the rubble at the Nurdagi site.
"We were asked by our government to facilitate search and rescue operations here in Nurdagi and we had a lead about a survivor trapped in the rubble. We asked Julie to go inside the rubble. She went in and started barking, which was a sign that she had detected a survivor trapped underneath," he told ANI.
The death toll from the earthquakes in Turkiye and northwestern Syria has gone past 35,000 as rescue efforts continue.