CHANTILLY, Va. (DC News Now) — After 11 days of searching for earthquake survivors in Turkey, search-and-rescue members are back on American soil.
The team of emergency managers, doctors and specialists that have the expertise to help in searches went through thousands of buildings to search for life.
The members were welcomed back with banners and hugs from friends and family, the Turkish Ambassador, Fairfax County leadership, and the U.S. aid ambassador.
“The road to recovery is going to be long but by being there first, [it] showed our allies in Turkey [that] we’ll be there through thick and thin,” said Samantha Power, the U.S. aid administrator.
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The team said they were excited to be welcomed back after a long journey and cannot wait to rest when they get home.
“That actually moved me a lot, given the long journey we had and seeing the family members out here in the rain at one o’clock in the morning. I was ready for bed but that put a lot of life in me to see that the families were out here in these circumstances and grateful for what we’ve done,” said Andrew Johnson, who is a Hazmat specialist.
Before they left Turkey, the group transferred specialized equipment to local search and rescue teams to support ongoing operations.
The task force previously tweeted on Monday before departing the country that it is “humbled by the strength and graciousness of the people of Türkiye” and added that they wish the country the best as they “rebuild and recover.”