Reporter: Pratibha Raman, Nikhila Henry
Video Producer/Editor: Shohini Bose
An Indian national, identified as Vijay Kumar, was found dead under the debris of a hotel in Turkey’s Malatya, after he was missing since the earthquake on 6 February, the Indian Embassy in Turkey said in a Tweet.
Kumar was on a business trip to Turkey.
The Indian Embassy in Turkey has been making arrangements to transport Kumar’s mortal remains to his family back in India.
The Indian Embassy in Turkey said, "We inform with sorrow that the mortal remains of Shri Vijay Kumar, an Indian national missing in Turkiye since February 6 earthquake, have been found and identified among the debris of a hotel in Malatya, where he was on a business trip."
It added, "Our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. We are making arrangements for the earliest possible transportation of his mortal remains to his family."
What Did the Family Say?
Vijay's wife Pinky Gaur and their 6-year-old son had been waiting for news about him. His father Ramesh Chand Gaur had died of a cardiac arrest in December 2022.
"We were just recovering from our father's demise," Arun said. Their mother, Sumitra Devi, lives with Arun in Uttarakhand. "We are hoping that Vijay would return home safe," Arun had said.
Vijay Kumar was deputed to Turkey for the installation and commissioning of an acetylene gas plant in Malatya. He secured his passport (W4190958) and got his visa (58035734) on 17 January 2023.
The death toll in Turkey and Syria, following a disastrous 7.8 magnitude earthquake, climbed to 24,000 amid the severe winter. The quake was the deadliest to strike since 33,000 people died in a 7.8 magnitude in 1939.
'Operation Dost' Steams Ahead
Earlier on 8 February, the MEA Secretary (West) Sanjay Verma said that ten Indians were stuck in remote areas of Turkey after the country was hit by two "biggest natural disaster" earthquakes, but added that while one citizen (Vijay Kumar) was missing, the rest were safe.
"We are in touch with his family and the company in Bengaluru," Verma said, during a special briefing on 'Operation Dost,’ the ongoing search and rescue operation initiated by the Government of India to aid Syria and Turkey.
In a special briefing on Wednesday, the MEA said that India has been able to send more than 250 personnel, specialised equipment and other relief material amounting to more than 135 tonnes to Turkiye on five C-17 IAF aircraft.
"There are 10 individuals who are stuck in some remote parts of the affected area but they are safe. We have one Indian national missing, who was on a business visit to Turkey's Malatya. And he has not been traced for the last two days."MEA Secretary (West) Sanjay Verma
Another C-17 aircraft carrying relief material has landed in Syria.
"It was perhaps the furthest that we have gone in terms of HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief ) involving specialised teams. We tried to live up to our reputation as first responder," Verma said.