February 9, 2023
JAKARTA – An Indonesian woman and her family were among those who perished in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck on Monday in Turkey, the Indonesian Embassy in Ankara confirmed on Wednesday.
Entering the third day of search and rescue efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake, the embassy announced the first two confirmed Indonesian deaths in the disaster.
It also announced that 123 people, including two Malaysians and a Myanmar national, had been evacuated to safety.
Three teams from the embassy were deployed in freezing winter conditions as they arrived to help evacuate hundreds of their fellow citizens from the four hardest-hit regions of Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay and Kahramanmaras.
Scenes of utter destruction filled the footage taken by Indonesian officials based in Turkey as they made their way past collapsed buildings and public infrastructure.
The bodies of Balinese native Nia Marlinda, her 1-year-old child, a dual Indonesian-Turkish national, and Turkish husband had been found buried under the rubble in Kahramanmaras, Indonesian Ambassador to Turkey Lalu Muhammad Iqbal said in a press statement.
“The deceased and her family will be interred in Kahramanmaras today [Wednesday],” Iqbal said.
The evacuation team in Kahramanmaras, led by the embassy’s defense attaché, would make sure that Nia’s remains were handled carefully and that her relatives in Indonesia were informed of her passing.
Several other Indonesian expatriates were still unaccounted for, including two spa therapists in Dyarbakir and another Indonesian in Gaziantep, whose death was previously reported by a local media outlet but remained unverified.
The embassy statement added that one woman and her two children, who lived in Hatay and had been previously unreachable, were found alive and well and had been evacuated to safety.
“Praise be to God, the embassy teams have arrived at the sites where the earthquake [hit hardest] to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate Indonesian nationals to Ankara, as per the President’s instruction,” Iqbal said on Wednesday, referring to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
“I have asked the people we evacuated to quickly inform their relatives in Indonesia that they are safe to minimize shock,” he added.
The combined death toll of the disaster that affected regions in Turkey and northwest Syria had crept past 11,200 on Wednesday, according to various news agencies.
The Indonesian government has sent its first disaster relief package to Turkey and is currently planning to send more aid to both Ankara and Damascus, while a number of independent humanitarian relief efforts have also popped up among donor organizations and the health community.
President Jokowi took to Twitter on Tuesday to express his deepest condolences to the people of both Turkey and Surya following the deadly earthquake, which was followed by a second quake of magnitude 7.5 as well as a series of aftershocks that toppled more buildings that had withstood the first massive tremor.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims. Indonesia stands in solidarity with the people of Türkiye [sic] and Syria,” he tweeted.