Latvian surgeons ready to aid Turkey if needed

Following the earthquake in Turkey, Latvian microsurgeons Mārtiņš Malzubris and Olafs Libermanis have expressed their readiness to go there to help the victims. The two doctors were also among the first to travel to Ukraine to operate on the wounded soldiers in the first days of the war launched by Russia, Latvian Television reported February 13.

The peace and quiet on Duntes Street, in the area of Traumatology and Orthopedics hospital, contrasts with the images received from Turkey. Microsurgeon Mārtiņš Malzubris emphasized that in such disasters, exactly the first days and weeks are the most crucial.

“The first week of trying to dig out what can be dug out and three-four weeks is a battle for survival. And there is a moment when [..] the whole world needs to come hand in hand and help,” says Malzubris.

A five-person medical team is ready to travel to Turkey.

“Two surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses. We have all the equipment, [after] Ukraine, we need to understand where to work, where to work with, and what our status is. Israel has sent its mobile hospital, it is an army hospital. But it's a safety issue. There's a need for a coordination headquarters,” said the microsurgeon Olafs Libermanis.

“Whether it's going to be the stitches, or amputations, or distribution of sedatives. That's what we don't know. You have to take doctors who are ready to do everything. Everything is useful,” said Malzubris.

The provision of Latvian assistance to Turkey shall be coordinated by the Chief of the Civil Protection Department of the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) Ivars Nakurts. He is aware that in Turkey the demand for doctors' teams has not yet been expressed.

“We have news that there are medical teams that have applied for and are ready to go through the European Union civil protection mechanism. But the Turkish authorities have said: Thank you, so far you are on standby, because capabilities are sufficient,” Nakurts said.

Until now, Turkey has requested blankets, heating equipment, and temporary accommodation.

The doctors will get a message as soon as their hands and knowledge are needed.

Meanwhile, the company Latvijas finieris is planning to help Turkey by sending a cargo of birch plywood products worth €50,000 to the regions affected by the devastating earthquake in the coming days. Birch plywood will be donated because it is a universal material with extensive applications, both in earthquake relief works and in the construction of temporary shelters.

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