Turkish helicopters evacuate 6 people from Albanian floods

Turkish helicopters evacuate 6 people from Albanian floods

December 07, 2010, Tuesday/ 16:13:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Three helicopters sent to flood-hit Albania have evacuated six people, while also transporting more than 10 tons of food to the region experiencing what authorities describe as the country's worst floods in living memory.

The three S-70 search-and-rescue helicopters were sent by the Turkish Land Forces and arrived in the region on Sunday, the General Staff said in a written statement posted on its website on Monday. During 11 separate sorties carried out over four hours on Sunday, the helicopters transported and distributed 10,975 kilograms of food, the statement also said.

“Transportation for Albania's interior minister, chief of General Staff and commander in charge of logistics to Suke Dajç has been provided for, and six Albanian citizens have been evacuated from Suke Dajç to Shkoder,” it said, while noting that the Turkish pilots are based at the Gjader Air Base, which is close to the disaster area, and have been continuing their search and rescue activities and distributing aid.

In addition to the helicopters, Turkey has sent a truck to Albania loaded with 1,000 blankets and 150 tents. The aid has been provided by the Turkish Red Crescent Society (Kızılay). Today, two trucks loaded with 100 tents, 850 packets of foodstuffs and medical material will set off for Montenegro, where the situation is also critical.

Meanwhile, Albanian President Bamir Topi telephoned Turkish President Abdullah Gül and personally thanked him for Turkey's swift response and assistance, the Anatolia news agency reported.

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