WASHINGTON, DC – After earthquakes rocked parts of Turkey and Syria, members of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) deployed and are on the ground to assist with urban search and rescue efforts.  Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement:

“This is a devastating tragedy and the full magnitude is still emerging. 

“The American people stand in solidarity with the Turkish and Syrian people impacted by this disaster. 

“The U.S. government is expediting needed assistance and humanitarian aid to help save lives and prevent this dire situation from becoming worse.  We have already deployed American disaster response specialists and tons of equipment and medical supplies.  U.S. military aircraft carrying teams and equipment were able to land at Incirlik Air Base in the southern Turkish province of Adana and deploy from there to the hardest-hit areas.

“I commend the experienced rescue personnel, volunteers, first responders and everyone doing their part to help the most vulnerable.

“I have reached out to USAID for updates on the situation and continue to monitor it closely.

“Rhode Islanders are contacting my office with questions about how they can help.  If people choose to give directly to a non-profit organization, my advice is to make sure it is a reputable one that has the capacity and experience to get assistance where it is most needed.  Several governments are contributing directly to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).  USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) also provides resources for people seeking to help those affected by a disaster overseas.”