The team of the National Disaster Management Chief Directorate (OKF) arrived back in Hungary on Sunday, after having rescued 17 survivors, including three children, from under the rubble in Turkey. The military aircraft carrying the rescue unit landed in Budapest at the Liszt Ferenc International Airport just after midnight yesterday, where it was received by, among others, Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior Bence Rétvári, and Major General Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi, Chief of the National Defence General Staff. Representatives of the Turkish Embassy in Budapest were also there to express their gratitude to the brave Hungarians rescue workers.
No Reason Not to to Be Proud
‘The Hungarian people help both domestically and abroad, as we saw during the coronavirus pandemic, in the case of refugees from Ukraine, and now in Turkey,’ Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said. He added: ‘The participants in the rescue did their utmost to help.’
The defence minister emphasised that he was proud that the Hungarians who were there would always offer their knowledge and courage if the country needed it. He also mentioned the Hungarian Defence Force personnel, who were present through their participation in the transport with aircraft and by providing military physicians.
The state secretary of the Ministry of the Interior said: ‘The Hunor unit and other Hungarian rescue units completed a dangerous mission, but everyone returned home safely and in good health. We owe them a great deal of gratitude because they did the most important thing, saving lives in physically and mentally challenging circumstances,’ Bence Rétvári emphasised.
The state secretary also thanked the participants, disaster management personnel, and rescue workers for their work. They showed that Hungary can help anyone and can provide help in any country in the world, he said. The Hunor set out for the earthquake-stricken country on 6 February. The 55-member rescue unit —firefighters, military doctors, and rescue service employees—began work on 7 February and worked until Sunday noon at the disaster site.
Rescue Teams from All Over the Country Helped
The rescue team of the Hungarian Baptist Aid also arrived back in Hungary on Sunday. The Baptists’ HUBA Rescue24 Fire and Rescue International Group had 18 people, including medical professionals, and eight search dogs on the ground. The rescue workers had to work under extreme conditions, often going without water and electricity and sometimes in temperatures of minus 10 degrees centigrade. According to the Baptist Aid, various Hungarian organisations sent a total of 156 people to Turkey, help rescue earthquake survivors.
The Hungarian Reformed Church Aid’s team also got back on Sunday evening, and were greeted by grateful Turkish nationals.
One of the organisations that saved lives in Turkey, the Szolnok-based Életjel (Life Signal) group also included 13-year old Smile, a mini dachshund, who, among others, helped save the life of a few-months-old baby trapped in the rubble.