The Welsh rescue team were told to stand down

Rescuers ready to travel to Turkey and Syria are feeling “sick” after being told to resign.

Dog handlers Emma Whittle and Brian Jones expected to travel with a sniffer dog team to help after the earthquake.

The death toll currently stands at more than 7,200.

Mrs. Whittle and Mr. Jones had hoped to rescue survivors from the rubble with their specialized search dogs.

Mr Jones, from British International Rescue and Search Dogs (BIRSD), based in Penmaenmawr, Conwy County, said he felt “very ill as every little bit helps”.

He said dogs can help pinpoint areas where people may be trapped.

“Instead of 30 square meters, it could be five square meters and we know there is an odor coming from the rubble in that area,” he explained.

“So we know we can mark that area so Serve On can come and get the body.”

Map showing the location of the two earthquakes in Turkey

The magnitude of the earthquake was classified as “large” on the official magnitude scale

Serve On is a humanitarian crisis organization that works at home and abroad.

Mr Jones said a team had been sent out by the British government on Monday.

He said: “I think they had four dogs with them. We asked if they needed our services, they said ‘yes, thanks for offering’.

“We were then put on standby by Serve On. We sat there during the night.

“In the morning we received a report from Serve On that they had withdrawn and could not enter the country.

“The problem is between our government and the Syrian government. They couldn’t get permission to go there.”

Ms Whittle has not worked in the aftermath of an earthquake before but was called in to help after a landslide in Malaysia.

“Time is of the essence, the sooner we get out of there the better,” she said.

The disaster happened when an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck near the town of Gaziantep, Turkey, early Monday morning.

This was followed by a magnitude 7.5 quake that had its epicenter in Elbistan in the south of the country.

On Monday, 76 rescue specialists were sent by the British government to help search for survivors.

The Welsh Institute for International Affairs and the Syrian Welsh Society are asking people to donate to organizations on the ground.

Mohammed Alhadj Ali, of the Syrian Welsh Society, called the situation “catastrophic”.

Dr.  Mohammad Alhadj Ali President Wales Syria

Mohammed Alhadj Ali, of the Syrian Welsh Society, called the situation “catastrophic”

He said: “They need medical attention, they need shelter, help and support to get people out of their rooms.

“That’s the top priority to be honest with you.”

Dr. Ali said friends had told him that the winter in Syria had been difficult.

There was no fuel for heating, he said, food was scarce and prices were rising.

“They had the air raids, they had the bombings, the floods, harsh winters and difficult summers,” he said.

“It’s been a decade of tragedy in Syria.”

Wales Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt said she had seen a message of condolences to the Turkish ambassador.

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