At 5:30a.m., inside Hatay Stadium, the alarm bells ring, signaling a new day for the Vietnamese search and rescue force. The field tents are simultaneously lighted up because it is still dark, while the white snow covers the tents and the luggage has not yet melted. The outside temperature is about 0 Celsius degree.

The Vietnamese search and rescue force prepares equipment for a working day.

After doing their personal hygiene and having breakfast, they go on a truck to the scene where they will meet local forces to deploy the search and rescue duties.

Hatay is among the earthquake worst-hit provinces in Turkey, so rescuers have to work in much more difficult conditions. The buildings are almost destroyed, leaving the scene sprawling and dilapidated.

Going on a truck to travel to the scene

Reaching victims is a huge challenge, because it has to be done as quickly as possible, especially when detecting the possibility of life, while also to ensure the safety of the rescue force.

Each rescuer has to wear a face mask to avoid dust blown by winds from the rubble. The scene is usually concrete yards with rusted iron and steel, or suspended concrete pieces. Risks and dangers are always present, so everyone always reminds each other to pay attention and ensure safety when on duty.

The Vietnamese search and rescue force reaches the scene.
The service dog searches for victims.
Vietnamese rescuers use modern equipment to search victims.

In each position, the service dogs go first to find victims with assistance from engineering troops. After detecting a victim, the engineers mark the location with a flag.

The rescuers run against time each day. The members of the rescue team of the Vietnam People's Army are looking forward to identifying as many victims and locations as possible to comfort their relatives who are waiting for news of their loved ones.

The Vietnamese troops often have lunch with instant noodle or dry provisions and water to save time to search for the victims.

Rescuers of the Vietnam People's Army have shown incredible bravery and selflessness in their ongoing rescue and humanitarian relief mission. They have worked tirelessly to aid those affected by the disaster and received much support and appreciation from the local authority and people.

Their working day often ends when it is already dark. In the freezing cold of the evening, the temperature is only 3 to 5 Celsius degrees. Everyone tries to keep their body warm and take advantage of rest to stay healthy after a stressful working day. The next day with difficult tasks awaits them.

Reported by Van Hieu from Hatay, Turkey

Translated by Trung Thanh