Rescue dogs who were part of the recovery efforts following the recent earthquakes in Turkey have been treated to first and business-class travel on their journey home, courtesy of Turkish Airlines.
A spokesperson for the national flag carrier told The Independent that it was “the least we could do to show our appreciation for these heroic dogs’ sincere and heroic efforts”.
The hounds and their handlers came from around the world to assist with the rescue operation, including from Thailand, China, Hungary and Kyrgyzstan.
Pictures shared with The Independent show the dogs seated in the premium cabin after undertaking crucial work in detecting and assisting humans during the natural disaster which killed more than 50,000 people across Turkey and Syria.
Turkish Airlines also confirmed that they had been providing free flights for evacuees, as well as free cargo transportation for urgent medical supplies, food, clothing, generators, hygiene kits, tents and other essential equipment.
The airline said it has supported over 238,000 rescue personnel with over 1,300 aid flights, as well as donating more than 2bn Turkish Lira (£88m) to rescue efforts.
Turkish Airlines chairman of the board and executive committee, Professor Dr Ahmet Bolat, also donated his March salary for “immediate aid efforts”.
Swathes of southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria were destroyed by a series of earthquakes that shook the region in early February and beyond.
One month on, an estimated 1.5 million people are said to be living in disaster zones in Turkey with no proper shelter.
An appeal for $1bn (£883m) to assist survivors is only 10 per cent funded, a United Nations official said on Monday (6 March).
The earthquake destroyed or damaged around 214,000 buildings and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, making it the worst disaster in Turkey’s modern history.
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