Turkey: Earthquake Relief - Private Notice Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 3:17 pm ar 6 Chwefror 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 3:17, 6 Chwefror 2023

My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord. He asked some specific questions. We are working directly with the United Nations. I hope to speak to the UN co-ordinator, Mohamed Haji, later today within the context of Syria, but communications are quite challenging, certainly in Syria. The noble Lord is right to ask what we have deployed immediately. A UK international search and rescue team will be deployed today and commence life-saving activity within the critical 72 hours. They will depart on a charter flight from Birmingham at 1800 today and will arrive in Turkey by 2300 UK time tonight. They are working in a co-ordinated fashion with the co-ordinating agency in Turkey. I am sure all noble Lords appreciate that it is an evolving situation. Even as I was leaving the Foreign Office to answer this Question, tragically we saw the reported casualty figure reach 2,000—or a tad just under—and this is after just a few hours. The noble Lord is correct that there were two earthquakes, one of 7.8 magnitude followed by one of 7.5 magnitude, impacting not just Syria and Turkey but further afield, including in Israel and the OPTs.

I assure the noble Lord that, as my right honourable friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have said, we stand with Turkey and the agencies working on the ground, and, importantly, with the UN within the context of Syria, to make sure that what is required immediately and in the medium and long term can be addressed directly. I assure the noble Lord that, as more details evolve, I shall be happy to update your Lordships’ House accordingly.