In Turkiye, Veg Food From Man Who Cremated Son, A Sim Card And A Hug | Ghaziabad News – Times of India

GHAZIABAD: “Even in the midst of death and destruction, compassion and gratitude held us together,” says Deepak Talwar of the past ten days his team spent sorting through the ruins of an earthquake-struck city in Turkey.
The deputy commander of the National Disaster Response Force’s 8th Battalion landed at the air force base in Hindon with 50 members of his team and two dogs of the canine units on Friday morning. The Ghaziabad-based battalion was among the three NDRF teams sent for rescue and relief operations on February 7, a day after a series of devastating quakes flattened the region near the Turkey and Syria border.
On reaching Nurdagi, one of the worst hit towns in Gaziantep province, Talwar’s first interaction was with local Ahmed who pleaded with the team to pull out the body of his teenage son from the rubble that was once the family’s house.
“Through a translator, Ahmed told us he wanted a proper burial for his son. So we set off immediately. After hours of cutting and drilling, we retrieved the body and handed it over to the father,” he says.
As the operation went on, Ahmed returned a few days later, after having performed the last rites of his son.
“He somehow got wind of the fact that I am a vegetarian. From then on, every day, he would bring cooked vegetables for me even though I told him he didn’t have to,” Talwar says.
The other rescuers tell of a similar reception from the Turkish people. Constable Sushma Yadav had left her 18-month-old twins in the care of her parents back home. In Nurdagi, she struggled to find a way to talk to her family and get an update on how her children were.“After days of being unable to get in touch, the locals arranged SIM cards for us, and I could talk to my parents. We could feel tremendous gratitude from the locals despite a language barrier between us,” she says.
The three NDRF squads, from Ghaziabad, Kolkata and Varanasi, sent by the Indian government under ‘Operation Dost’ helped rescue two girls buried under mounds of debris and dug out scores of bodies in Nurdagi and Antakya. Before taking the return flight from Adana city airport, NDRF teams were given an emotional send-off from the Turkish officials and the locals, who said their goodbyes with chants of “Indistani”.
“An elderly woman was in tears as we were leaving Nurdagi, and she hugged us one by one before we could start for Adana,” says another member of the 8th battalion team.
Squads return
On Friday, the 51-member NDRF Ghaziabad and 50-member Kolkata teams arrived at the Hindon IAF base to a rousing applause from their colleagues and airport officials. The third team of the 11th Battalion (Varanasi) is expected to touch down on Saturday.
Six Labrador dogs of the canine units, Honey and Rambo of the 8th Battalion, and Romeo and Julie of the 2nd Battalion (Kolkata), and Roxy and Bob of the 11th Battalion, were also welcomed with garlands. Romeo and Julie were instrumental in tracking down two survivors, both young girls, in Nurdagi on February 9.
Honey and Rambo too helped the team navigate the operation. “The challenge was to get acclimatized to the surroundings and the climate. Honey and Rambo performed to our great satisfaction” said constable Raghvendra Singh, handler of 7-year old Honey.
“Now, all teams, even the dogs, will remain in quarantine for the next three days,” PK Tiwary, commandant, 8th NDRF Battalion.

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