LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles County Fire Department search-and- rescue team was being deployed to Turkey Monday in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that is believed to have killed more than 3,400 people.
The Monday morning quake had a magnitude of 7.8, causing extensive damage in Turkey and Syria. In addition to the dead, thousands more have been injured and thousands more left homeless.
The United States Agency for International Development on Monday afternoon announced the deployment of urban search and rescue teams from Los Angeles County and Fairfax County, Virginia, to assist in recovery efforts. L.A. County officials said the team will include 81 people, six canine teams and three structural engineers.
"This USAR team is the best of the best and will be instrumental in saving lives and rescuing people who continue to be stuck under rubble," County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement.
Officials with the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles and other consulates around the country said people who want to offer assistance can donate items such as blankets, tents, sleeping bags, pocket warmers, winter clothing and over-the-counter medications for flu, cold and pain. Items for donation should be placed in clear bags, along with an itemized list of the donated items. The items can then be dropped off at consulates for transport to Turkey.
The Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles is at 6300 Wilshire Blvd.
County Interim Fire Chief Anthony Marrone told reporters Monday night that the USAR team "is highly skilled and elite" and could be deployed for two weeks or more.
He urged L.A. residents to use news of the quake as a reminder that Southern California is earthquake country, and preparation is critical.
"Make a kit, have a plan and be prepared," he said.
He said residents can get quake-preparation tips online at ready.lacounty.gov.