Very strong earthquakes hit the area of Turkey bordering Syria, killing many people. The exact number of this great tragedy is still unknown.
Relief efforts are still going strong and it is not known if there will be a few or many thousands of victims. Volunteers, rescuers and canine units locally and from across Europe are being mobilized to try to save as many people as possible from the rubble. Rescue dogs can make all the difference in these dramatic situations.
On Sunday night, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake destroyed buildings, hotels and homes of all kinds. A dire balance sheet ahead is getting worse by the hour. During the ongoing rescue and recovery operations, aftershocks continued, some stronger, some weaker. Sunday night’s tremors even brought tsunami warnings for the coasts of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily.
The work of these hours and days is and will be complex, as well as dangerous. Many of the canine unit’s sniffer dogs were involved in identifying survivors under the rubble. Many of these units’ dogs also come from other countries, such as India, Israel, and the European Union.
The sense of smell of these dogs is exceptional and trained. Rescue dogs are regularly trained to look for people trapped or “hidden” in some disaster. Thanks to these rescue dogs, many people inundated with concrete, rocks and other types of debris have been identified.
These dogs sense the presence of people buried meters deep. They are raised as puppies, precisely because selected rescue dogs face a series of simulations at special locations during training to recreate severe uncomfortable situations. important.
Landslides, earthquakes, floods are just some of the situations where these dogs are trained to search for buried people. It is only in this way that the dogs hone their search and identification skills for many years.
It is clear that the training follows the dynamics of the game, of the quest and therefore of the prize. Handlers, who have the most important relationship with dogs, teach them to bark whenever they notice a human presence.
In addition to finding and identifying humans, however, dogs are in some cases, not always a kind of earthquake-alarm “antenna”. In Israel, a family ran to safety after their dog started barking. He had felt strange vibrations long before anyone else in the house.
The scientific community is still divided on this issue. In fact, according to a study published in the Open Journal of Earthquake Research, dogs exhibit unusual behaviors, sounds that are actually associated with the occurrence of an earthquake. However, according to many other scientists, the abilities of dogs and other animals are simply overestimated.
Whatever the truth of these theories, we know that rescuing dogs will be a lot of work. There are still many lives to be saved, hopefully most of those who are still holding on under the rubble.