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Indian man missing after Turkey quake discovered dead under hotel debris

On Saturday, five days after a devastating earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, killing about 25,000 people, the Indian embassy in Ankara verified the death of an Indian national who had been missing since February 6.

The Indian embassy in Ankara tweeted on Saturday, “We notify with sadness that the lifeless remains of Shri Vijay Kumar, an Indian national missing in Turkey since the February 6 earthquake, have been located and identified among the debris of a hotel in Malatya, where he was on a business trip.”

“We extend our most sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. We are making arrangements to convey his mortal remains to his family as soon as feasible,” the statement continued.

On February 8, the Ministry of External Affairs reported that one Indian national was missing.

Sanjay Verma, secretary (West) in the MEA, had stated, “We are missing one Indian national who was on a business trip to Turkey in Malatya for the past two days. We have contacted his family and the Bengaluru company where he is employed.”

India had started Operation Dost, a Humanitarian Assistance and Accident Relief (HADR) effort, to assist with the rescue mission and medical relief, with NDRF and Army forces reaching Turkey within hours of the disaster.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Friday that the team is working day and night as part of Operation Dost, recognising their efforts. They will continue to make every effort to save as many lives and assets as possible. In this time of crisis, India stands firmly with the Turkish people,” he remarked.

Additionally, the Indian embassy in Ankara has established a separate helpdesk to receive and anticipate similar inquiries.

There are 3,000 Indian citizens in Turkey, with around 1,850 residing in and around Istanbul, 250 in Ankara, and the remainder dispersed throughout the country.

In the early hours of Monday, a terrible earthquake struck the south of Turkey and Syria (February 6). This is the worst natural disaster to strike Turkey since a huge earthquake killed over 30,000 people in 1939.

According to MEA officials, the region affected by the earthquake in Turkey is around 1,200,000 square kilometres (west to east about 450 kms, north to south about 290 kms). There are 10 affected provinces, seven of which are in especially dire condition. The earthquake had magnitudes of 7.6 and 7.7, and 435 aftershocks have occurred in the region since then. In addition to Syria, the earthquake was felt in Lebanon, Greece, Israel, and Cyprus.

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