Finland dispatched a team of experts to Turkey on Tuesday morning to help with rescue efforts following two devastating earthquakes that hit the region on Monday.
The team includes rescue workers as well as IT professionals, and they are part of the Finnish international rescue team, known as the Finn Rescue Team (FRT).
According to the latest reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) from the region, the death toll from the disaster has now risen above 5,000 people, with a further 20,000 injured in Turkey alone.
Authorities in both countries have said fears are growing that the death toll may climb even higher, especially as repeated aftershocks have hampered ongoing rescue efforts.
"The distance between the epicentres of the two largest quakes is about 160 kilometres, so the area is wide. It's also cold and snowing," Pekka Tiainen of the Ministry of the Interior told Yle following a meeting with Turkish representatives on Monday.
Tiainen also departed Finland for Turkey on Tuesday morning to visit the earthquake zone and to lead a multinational team that is coordinating EU aid, as he has extensive experience in rescue operations.
"The quake in Turkey is similar to the one in Nepal in 2015. The region is mountainous and difficult to navigate. The area is also vast. Several command centres need to be set up to lead regional coordination," he said.
A four-person Technical Assistance and Support Team (TAST) will also fly from Finland to Turkey later on Tuesday. This team will help to set up a command centre in the disaster area for the operations led by Tiainen.
Finland is also part of the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), which coordinates the EU's emergency response in the region.
A 7.8 magnitude quake struck near the city of Gaziantep in the early hours of Monday morning. This was followed by a 7.5-magnitude tremor that hit at around 1:30pm local time (12:30pm Finnish time).
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