Meet Romeo and Julie, canine heroes who helped save 6-yr-old Turkey quake victim’s life
The miraculous rescue of a 6-year-old girl, buried under debris for three days after a series of powerful earthquakes struck Turkey, made headlines and offered a glimmer of hope in the midst of a catastrophe. But it would not have been possible without two Indian sniffer dogs.
Romeo and Julie, part of the National Disaster Response Force’s dog squad, played an instrumental role in detecting 6-year-old Nasreen’s whereabouts under tons of rubble. Without their help, the little girl may not have been pulled out alive.
Romeo and Julie’s handlers and their contingent commander Gurminder Singh said it was Julie who first sniffed out Nasreen and alerted her handler. Romeo was then brought in and he confirmed that the person buried beneath the debris was alive.
After her rescue, Nasreen was airlifted by military chopper and moved to the Indian Army’s field hospital in Turkey's Hatay for treatment. She is stable and is recovering.
The Labradors, trained in sniffing and rescue work, left for Turkey on Tuesday with two separate teams of the NDRF, which has been deployed under the Indian government’s Operation Dost initiative to provide assistance and relief materials to the quake-ravaged nation.
The NDRF is working to extricate live victims from under the rubble and providing first-aid to the injured, before handing them over to medical response authorities.
NDRF Director General Atul Karwal told news agency ANI that the dog squad will assist local authorities in Turkey in rescue and relief operations as per requirement.
India launched Operation Dost to extend assistance to Turkey as well as Syria following Monday's devastating quake that has so far killed more than 21,000 people and levelled hundreds of buildings in the two countries.
MEA Jaishankar on Thursday said the sixth plane from India carrying rescue personnel, essentials, and medical equipment for earthquake relief efforts had reached Turkey. The sixth flight reportedly carried more rescue teams, dog squads, and essential medicines for the quake-hit country.
The MEA said India has been able to send more than 250 personnel, specialised equipment and other relief material amounting to more than 135 tonnes to Turkiye in the first five flights.