Sarıyer municipality to erect statue of late Mexican rescue dog Proteo
A local municipality in Istanbul is set to honor a late Mexican rescue dog that died on duty searching for survivors in Adıyaman province, following the powerful Feb. 6 earthquakes which killed thousands of people in Türkiye.
"Proteo came from Mexico, miles away, and came to save our citizens under the rubble ... in these lands he had never known, and he succeeded," said Şükrü Genç, the mayor of Sarıyer Municipality in Istanbul, according to a statement by the municipality.
"Proteo is now one of the names we owe our loyalty to. We want to include his statue in our park," Genç added, speaking at a memorial event held for Proteo and Japanese aid volunteer Miyazaki Atsushi, who died in the 2011 earthquake in eastern Türkiye.
Proteo, a 9-year-old specially trained K9 for the Mexican search and rescue team, died after being severely injured in the line of duty in Adıyaman. Assisting Mexican military teams, the German shepherd rescued two people from under the rubble. The Mexican government paid him tribute and called him heroic.
Praising the international solidarity following the massive quakes in Türkiye, Genç said the solidarity has been "just like the 2011 earthquake in Van province."
"Japanese aid volunteer Miyazaki Atsushi died in the wreckage of Bayram Hotel, which was destroyed in that earthquake," Genç said. "He won the great love of the people of the region with his diligent work and kindness."
Miyazaki came to the rescue of earthquake victims in Van when it was struck by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on Oct. 23, 2011, and extended his helping hand to people both as a doctor and an aid worker as part of the Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan). But a magnitude 5.6 quake jolted the city again on Nov. 9 and this second quake caused his hotel to collapse to rubble, and Miyazaki was badly injured. He was taken out of the pile of debris following intense rescue operations but succumbed to his wounds at a hospital.
Event participants included India's Consul General in Istanbul Sudhi Choudhary, Mexico's Consul General in the city Isabel Arvide, and Japan's Consul General Kasahara Kenichi, as well as Sarıyer Municipality Civil Defense Team.
According to the latest official figures, at least 42,300 people have died in the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes on Feb. 6 that were centered in Türkiye's southern Kahramanmaraş province and struck 10 other provinces-Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Adıyaman, Adana, Diyarbakır, Kilis, Osmaniye, Şanlıurfa, and Elazığ.