Türkİye, World

US rescue worker who helped in '99 quake returns to Türkiye

Dean Tills, along with his sniffer dog Ivan, is working at collapsed building site in Adiyaman province

Mesut Varol  | 14.02.2023 - Update : 14.02.2023
US rescue worker who helped in '99 quake returns to Türkiye Dean Tills ( Mesut Varol - Anadolu Agency )


A US rescue worker who participated in the relief efforts after 1999’s cataclysmic earthquake which hit northwestern Türkiye, is back in the country following last week's massive earthquakes.

Dean Tills, a civil engineer, is part of a 160-member US team. He is making efforts to save those who were under the rubble in Türkiye’s Adiyaman province, one of the severely-hit cities in the country due to quakes.

The senior rescuer along with his sniffer dog Ivan is working at the site of a collapsed building where some 40 people are believed to be buried under the rubble.

“I'm sorry that I have to be back in such a terrible situation, but it's definitely similar to what happened in 1999 in Izmit, the amount of devastation is fairly similar,” Tills told Anadolu.

“Older buildings seem to be the ones that are getting hurt the most,” he added. “In this location, there are a lot of newer structures that seemed to do okay, but the older ones were still hurt quite a bit.”

“Getting the opportunity to help out, and give people hope is very important,” he said. “You also get to see what other people have to go through in life and it's a good learning lesson. So it's very important and we just hope we can rescue as many people as possible.”

The magnitude 7.6 and 7.7 tremors were centered in Kahramanmaras and hit nine other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa. They also hit several countries and caused widespread destruction in northern Syria.

More than 31,900 people were killed in Türkiye, according to the latest official figures, while the death toll topped 3,600 in Syria.

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