Hungarian rescue team participants welcomed at Sándor Palace
President of Hungary Katalin Novák welcomed the members of the Hungarian search and rescue teams participating in the relief operations after the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria in a ceremony at Sándor Palace on Tuesday.
The Head of State – after a minute’s silent obeisance in memory of the victims by the attendees – expressed her gratitude and thanked those having participated in the rescue operation on behalf of every Hungarian. "You are our heroes. You, the men and the women who were there and helped after the tragedy, who saved lives day and night, without rest " - said Katalin Novák.
The President recalled: When people heard about the earthquake a week ago, no one expected that the calamity would claim so many victims. Hungary was one of the first countries to respond when Türkiye asked for help from the international community, the President noted, adding that "we Hungarians said that we can and we want to help", and that this was mainly thanks to the Hungarian rescue teams.
Katalin Novák stressed: it feels good to say that Hungary and the Hungarian people can be counted on in times of difficulty. We can be proud that Hungarians fought to save lives from the very first moment after the tragedy struck – she added.
The Head of State also noted: "even in the midst of a tragedy, it feels good to experience the special moments when the hearts of all Hungarians beat to the same rhythm". It feels good to see that at times like these, division does not take centre stage, at times like these, we are all „praying and rooting” for the members of the rescue teams to return home unharmed – said Katalin Novák, and then added: it was also good to see that Hungarians are able to assist in a meaningful way.
Ambassador of Türkiye in Budapest Gülsen Karanis Eksioglu thanked the members of the rescue teams on behalf of her country. She declared: 6 February, the day of the earthquake, will from now on be a very important day in the history of Turkish-Hungarian brotherhood. Hungary has once again shown that it can be counted on in difficult times, said the Ambassador.
She recalled that 167 Hungarian volunteers with 22 search dogs participated in the rescue operations, and they saved 35 lives, "giving hope back and bringing a miracle in the lives of 35 families".
Gülsen Karanis Eksioglu said that the tragedy has so far left 30,000 dead and more than 80,000 injured, with more than 10,000 search and rescue workers involved in the relief effort.
The Ambassador stressed: Türkiye will rise to the challenge and will make the earthquake-stricken region prosper.
The ceremony was attended by the Hungarian units involved in the rescue operations - the rescue team “Hunor” of the National Disaster Management Directorate General, the Hungarian Reformed Charity Service's volunteer search and rescue team with their rescue dog, the units of the Életjel (Life Sign) rescue team, the team of the Pest County Search and Rescue Service, the Huba Rescue 24 team of the Baptist Aid Organisation, the Budapest Rescue Organisation, the Hungarian Defence Forces and the Counter-Terrorism Centre – where they received a Presidential Thank You card.
In recognition of the work of the search dogs, one of the animals injured during the rescue, named Gogo, was given a collar tag with the word "Heroes."