President of Turkey honors leader of USAR El Salvador group.

In a special ceremony, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey presented the Order and the Medal of Superior Sacrifice of the State to the leader of the USAR El Salvador group, Antonio Vásquez, and to the Ambassador of El Salvador in Turkey, Héctor Jaime, for their participation in the search and rescue operations after the earthquakes of February 6th.

“On behalf of myself, my nation, and my state, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to each of my brothers for their efforts in the earthquake zone,” expressed the Turkish President.

The USAR El Salvador team, along with members of the Army and a Fosalud team, arrived in Turkey on February 9th. Their support was crucial in the rescue of a woman and a child who survived the collapse of a residential building in the province of Kahramanmaraş, where Salvadoran rescuers had deployed their operations in coordination with Turkish authorities.

The USAR El Salvador group was made up of 111 experts and three dogs, making it the second-largest from Latin American countries, second only to Mexico, which participated in the rescue operations. In total, 11,320 search and rescue teams from 90 countries around the world carried out search and rescue tasks in Turkey.

“When presenting the State Medal and the Order of Distinguished Sacrifice to local and foreign representatives of the names, institutions, and teams that became symbols in the post-earthquake efforts,” local authorities reported.

USAR El Salvador has worked in the response to this type of emergency, providing support in search and rescue missions in international tragedies caused by earthquakes in Haiti, Ecuador, and Mexico, where they joined other USAR groups from various countries. With the government of President Nayib Bukele, through this group, the emergency system has been strengthened for humanitarian assistance.

This team is specialized in operations that involve the location, stabilization, and extraction of people trapped in confined spaces or under debris due to collapsed structures, caused by phenomena such as earthquakes, landslides, accidents, among others.