Czech Rescue Workers Receive Honours In Prague For Their Help In Turkey After The Earthquake

Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda and the awarded rescuers at the Mayor’s residence. Photo credit: Bohuslav Svoboda, via Facebook.

Prague, May 18 (TB) – On Tuesday afternoon, Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda welcomed the rescuers of the USAR team and presented them with the Medal of the Capital City of Prague. Members of the Prague Fire Rescue Department and officers of the Prague Municipal Police showed extraordinary courage when deployed after the devastating earthquake in Turkey this February.

Each of the members of the USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team received the Medal of the Capital City of Prague for extraordinary commitment in service as a symbol of gratitude. The team consisted of a total of 69 people, approximately half of whom were firefighters. The mayor also symbolically thanked their rescue dogs Yetti, Fram and Bart. 

The event took place in the Mayor’s residence. “Our rescuers showed an extraordinary level of solidarity and courage, for all of which they and their four-legged helpers deserve a big thank you,” said Svoboda. “Helping victims of natural disasters anywhere in the world has been contributing to spreading the good name of the Czech Republic for years.” 

Turkey and Syria were hit by a devastating earthquake in February, claiming over 50,000 lives in Turkey alone. The Czech team of almost 70 people left immediately after the call for help was issued, and was one of the first international aid teams to arrive at the scene. They immediately began the search for trapped people in very difficult conditions and continued searching for 24 hours a day. 

“By rescuing people from the ruins, to the maximum of their capabilities, they contributed to alleviating the suffering of the residents of the most affected areas,” said Svoboda.

“My dear colleagues from the USAR team did a great job in Turkey,” said Luděk Prudil, director of the Prague Fire Rescue Department. “I am glad that the mayor appreciated them and invited them with their families. They protect our capital city every day, but when needed, they also help beyond the borders of the Czech Republic. As our USAR team proved in Turkey, it is one of the best in the world.” 

According to Vladimír Vlček, Director General of the Czech Fire Rescue Service, the Czech team managed to rescue 78 victims over the course of 10 long and demanding days.

The Czech Republic sent a heavy USAR team for the first time ever. Previously, medium USAR teams were sent to help after a large explosion in Lebanon and earthquakes in Nepal, Pakistan and Iran.

Written by Tomáš Houdek.

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