U.S. military leaders are routing aid from United States European Command to Turkey and Syria after a massive earthquake Monday killed more than 4,000 people.
“Using a whole of government approach, we remain in close contact with our Turkish Ally to determine what assistance is needed to help those affected by the disaster,” Marine Lt. Col. Garron J. Garn, a Defense Department spokesperson, said in a statement to Military Times on behalf of USEUCOM.
“At this time, USEUCOM is coordinating with the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance, as well as other U.S. interagency partners, to establish what capabilities are needed and available to support requests by the government of Turkiye.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, working with the U.S. Air Force, handled the first round of aid from Dover, Delaware, on Tuesday.
“Airmen from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron processed U.S. humanitarian assistance Feb. 7, 2023, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, in support of search and rescue efforts in Turkiye,” according to a post on the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Facebook page.
The U.S. military operates out of Incirlik Air Base just outside Adana, Turkey. The installation was not damaged by the quake, and no troops were injured.
“All U.S. government personnel assigned to the 39th Air Base Wing have been accounted for and we have no suspected or confirmed U.S. casualties at this time.” according to a post on the base’s Facebook page. “Additionally, no U.S. facilities on base have sustained major damage.”
Garn reiterated President Joe Biden’s sentiments, writing that “the United States is determined to do all that we can to help those affected by these earthquakes in the days, weeks, and months ahead.”
So far, more than 7,800 people have been rescued from rubble in Turkey, the AP reported. The death toll, victims rescued, and refugees displaced by the earthquake are expected to rise sharply.
“U.S. European Command extends our sincerest condolences and we express our deep sadness at the tragic loss of life as a result of the earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria,” Garn added.
Jonathan Lehrfeld contributed to this story.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.