Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Hong Kong rescuers praised as they return from rescue mission in quake-hit Turkey

Hong Kong rescuers praised as they return from rescue mission in quake-hit Turkey

Chief Executive John Lee says ‘no one let go of any chance to save lives’ as rescue team lands on home soil.

A Hong Kong rescue team received a hero’s welcome when they arrived in Hong Kong on Friday night after nine days in Turkey searching for survivors of a huge 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

Cheering crowds arrived early at the city’s airport as the team arrived home, fresh from a similar scene in Beijing earlier the same day.

Family members of the Hong Kong rescuers cried tears of joy and many handed over bouquets of flowers as they were reunited with their loved ones.

A baby boy in a front carrier who greeted his firefighter father with a beaming smile and got a tender kiss on the forehead in return was one of about a dozen children at the airport to welcome a parent back.

Chief Executive John Lee at the airport to welcome the Hong Kong mercy mission to earthquake-stricken Turkey.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu earlier thanked Hong Kong’s heroes and spoke of his gratitude for the work of the 59-strong group.

“On behalf of the government and residents, welcome back safely to your home, Hong Kong. You have successfully finished the mission,” Lee told the team. “We feel very appreciative.”

He said the team risked their safety to save others and showed love and professionalism, as well as the outstanding capabilities of Hong Kong personnel and the spirit of mutual assistance across national borders.

“The team members faced all kinds of difficulties, including the threat of aftershocks, but they still raced against time to save lives,” Lee said.

“They also lost their energy easily in severely cold weather. I know some team members were too cold in the tents and couldn’t sleep. But no one let go of any chance to save lives.”

Lee shook the hand of every member and promised an official reception at Government House, his official residence, on Monday.

Peyami Kalyoncu, Turkey’s consul general in Hong Kong, said the Hong Kong team were now the “brothers and sisters” of the people whose lives they saved.

“We cannot thank you all enough for your heroic work and dedication,” he told the team. “We also thank the Hong Kong people for the messages of sympathy and all the donations they have been sending to help alleviate the impact of the earthquake.”

The warm welcome followed a similar reception in Beijing after the city team arrived earlier in the day on the same plane as their mainland counterparts.

Members of the mercy mission and a team from mainland China left Turkey on Thursday night.

Top Beijing and Hong Kong officials as well as representatives from the Turkish embassy led the welcome ceremony at Beijing Capital Airport at around 6pm, soon after the team’s Air China charter flight arrived.
The welcome ceremony for the Hong Kong and mainland China rescue teams in Beijing.

Hong Kong’s No 2 official Eric Chan Kwok-ki travelled to the capital in the morning with security minister Chris Tang Ping-keung and Fire Services Director Andy Yeung Yan-kin to join mainland officials in welcoming both teams.

The city team pulled four survivors from wrecked buildings in the hard-hit region of Hatay.

Chan highlighted the national rescue team reserved a spot for their Hong Kong counterparts right next to them in the command centre and invited them to join the United Nations’ coordination meeting. They also provided hot meals and fuel for the Hong Kong team.

The chief secretary also expressed his gratitude to the Chinese embassy in Turkey for providing assistance with translation and transport.

“It showed the high level of trust and confidence that the national rescue team has put in Hong Kong,” he said.

Wang Linggui, the deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said the cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland in the mercy mission was unprecedented.

Chief Secretary Eric Chan (right) and Secretary for Security Chris Tang greet the Hong Kong rescue team in Beijing.

“Our rescuers had been racing against time fearlessly to save lives, while Hong Kong and Macau have been donating supplies to the [affected] zones. We have shown to the international community the successful application of the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong,” he said, a reference to the principle that governs ties between the city and Beijing.

The Hong Kong mission included 49 members of the Fire Services Department, two doctors and two nurses from the Department of Health, as well as six Security Bureau and Immigration Department staff – and springer spaniel rescue dogs Umi and Twix.

Rescuers from around the world travelled to the country and neighbouring Syria after both nations were devastated by last week’s earthquake, which has killed 44,000 so far, injured tens of thousands more and left millions displaced in harsh winter conditions.

The team dispatched last week by mainland authorities was made up of 82 personnel and it managed to find six survivors.

Three members of the Hong Kong Red Cross were sent to Ankara, Turkey’s capital, on Monday to assist humanitarian works by the Turkish Red Crescent and the International Red Cross.

Eleanor Lam, director of the Hong Kong Red Cross, told an online press conference the purpose of the trip was to understand the present conditions and identify the needs of the survivors, to better formulate emergency plans.

“As in Syria, we will focus on providing medical support,” she said. “The area has been plagued by conflicts, the Covid-19 pandemic, cholera outbreaks and acute economic crisis before the earthquake. All these impacted the infrastructure and accessibility to public services.”

A fundraising drive with a HK$5.5 billion target is under way and aims to provide humanitarian support to 3.75 million quake victims in the next two years, Lam said.

“It will take years for the community to recover and rebuild their life. This is a marathon,” she added. “We need all kinds of support, including donations, to make sure no one is left behind in the years to come.”


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.