Follow the latest on the earthquake in Turkey
Emirates airline will team up with Dubai's International Humanitarian City to deliver as much as 100 tonnes of crucial aid to survivors of the deadly earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria.
An air bridge is being established to transport urgent relief supplies, medical items and equipment over the next two weeks to support on-ground aid efforts and search and rescue activities in both countries, Emirates said.
The first two aid flights were taking off on Friday, carrying high thermal blankets and family tents, medical kits and shelter items.
In the coming days, more consignments of blankets, tents, shelter kits, flash lights, water distribution ramps and trauma and emergency health kits will be transported on Emirates aircraft.
International rescue operations and aid campaigns have been launched in the wake of the devastating disaster on Monday.
The death toll climbed beyond 21,000 on Friday and is expected to rise further still.
Emirates SkyCargo plans to dedicate cargo space for about 100 tonnes of humanitarian relief goods over the course of the next fortnight across its daily flight operations to Istanbul.
The critical emergency supplies brought by Emirates will then be delivered by local organisations to affected areas in southern Turkey and northern Syria, supporting responders on the ground and providing much-needed aid to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the earthquakes.
“We stand with the Turkish and Syrian people and are working with experts like the International Humanitarian City to help provide urgent relief to those affected and displaced by the earthquakes, as well as support the complex recovery efforts on the ground," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and group.
"Emirates has extensive experience in supporting humanitarian relief efforts, and through its three daily flights to Istanbul will offer regular and consistent widebody capacity for relief items and medical supplies.
"Emirates also supports the UAE’s ongoing humanitarian efforts to support Turkey and Syria, and Dubai’s unique position as the world’s largest international aid logistics hub means that we can efficiently reach disaster stricken areas and the most vulnerable people as quickly as possible.”
Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, chairman of the Supreme Committee for the Supervision of International Humanitarian City, said crucial steps were being taken to help those in need.
"The IHC remains committed to providing the people affected by the earthquakes with the humanitarian support and resources they need," he said.
"We are taking urgent action by facilitating airlifts of vital medical supplies, shelter items and other relief goods from the UNHCR, World Health Organisation and World Food Programme to address the pressing demand for aid in the affected regions."
UAE pledges support
The new aid mission is the latest step in the Emirates efforts to support the disaster-hit nations.
The UAE's 50-bed hospital, which will be equipped with a CAT scanner and X-ray machine, arrived at Gaziantep Airport on Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence said.
The field hospital will be set up in Hatay province, Turkey’s ambassador to the UAE said on Wednesday.
Hatay borders north-western Syria and is among the areas worst-affected by the deadliest earthquake in more than a decade that has killed more than 18,000 people in Turkey and Syria.
The arrival of the medical installation brought the total number of aid flights dispatched via an air bridge from the UAE to 22, the ministry said, including seven flights to Syria.
The planes have carried 640 tonnes of humanitarian aid for both countries, which included food and medical supplies. The ministry said 515 tents were sent to Syria to offer temporary shelter to those affected by the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.
The UAE's search and rescue teams are also racing against time to save people trapped under the rubble.
The Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence said that the teams have been deployed across several affected areas.