Two weeks ago, devastating earthquakes struck in Türkiye and Syria. The latest estimates show that 45,000 people have lost their lives, with the number still rising each day. Tens of thousands more are missing, and millions are displaced.
In this tragic time of need, an extraordinary group of dedicated and highly trained people rushed towards the danger.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, 53 different countries sent more than 6,600 rescue workers to assist in the search and rescue operations. Heroic men and women who were willing to put their own lives at risk to try to save people they have never met.
Included in this group were more than one hundred personnel from across BiH: from both entities, the Ministry of Security, and the Armed Forces of BiH. These teams have witnessed untold horrors as they worked around the clock to try to reach those trapped in the ruins of their homes. It is difficult to watch the video of entire cities turned into rubble, and to fathom the risk that emergency workers are taking in these extremely dangerous circumstances.
Times of crisis, like this one, break through barriers of differences and allow us to see the humanity and goodness in people: in the selfless rescue teams, the caring medical workers, and the generous citizens across BiH who rushed to donate clothes, blankets and money to those who have lost everything.
So I wanted to publically recognize and thank the responders from BiH for their rescue assistance, their supportive family members, and also the kind citizens throughout the country for quickly delivering humanitarian aid to our Ally Türkiye. The immediate response from BiH meant the difference between lives lost and lives saved. I wish safety to the Heroes still assisting, and look forward to welcoming everyone home soon.
Brigadier General Pamela L. McGaha
NATO Headquarters Sarajevo Commander