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Elon Musk activates SpaceX Starlink service over Ukraine
Elon Musk’s company SpaceX is ready to activate emergency Starlink satellites over Turkey as soon as possible, but there’s one major obstacle preventing this from happening. Turkey is currently amid a period of disaster after an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale struck on Monday morning. Tremors were felt as far as Cairo in Egypt, some 800 miles away. Emergency services are now scrambling to rescue thousands of people buried in the rubble of fallen buildings.
As rescue workers and residents are currently searching for survivors under the rubble of their homes in multiple cities, experts warned that the country was being hampered by a severe communications shortage due to the earthquake.
In a tweet, Mehmet Emin Adin, Assistant Professor of Radiology at Yale said: “Hey @elonmusk, a massive earthquake hit Turkey and neighboring countries. Severe communication shortages are happening. Any chance you can help with your starlink satellites?”
The billionaire CEO, who also owns Twiiter responded by saying: “Starlink is not approved by Turkish government yet. SpaceX can send as soon as approved.”
Dr Adin replied saying: “Thank you! They have declared highest emergency alert. This problem might be solved soon.”
Starlink is SpaceX’s satellite internet constellation, which is currently active over 47 countries but aims to provide internet coverage globally through a massive constellation of more than 12,000 satellites in low earth orbit.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the entrepreneur has since provided over 22,000 Starlink dish antennas to Kyiv, which have been deployed in settings from governmental buildings, hospitals and schools — through to helping to control drones used to combat the invading Russian forces.
This aid came days after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, when Ukrainaian government official Mykhailo Fedorov begged the multi-billionaire for help by tweeting: “While you try to colonize Mars — Russia tries to occupy Ukraine!
“While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civilians! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management agency said at least 76 people in seven Turkish provinces had died. The agency said 440 people were injured. Turkish vice President Fuat Oktay updated the death toll several hours later to 284, with 2,323 people injured.
The death toll in government-held areas of Syria climbed to 237 with more than 630 injured, according to Syrian state media. At least 47 people were reported killed in rebel-held areas. It is widely expected that the number of people killed in the disaster will continue to rise throughout Monday, at the least.
Buildings were reported collapsed in a swath from Syria’s cities of Aleppo and Hama to Turkey’s Diyarbakir, more than 200 miles to the northeast.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said the UK “stands ready to provide assistance” to Turkey and Syria after the countries were struck by a massive earthquake which has killed hundreds.
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“Tragic loss of life in the Türkiye and Syria earthquake,” wrote Mr Cleverly on Twitter at 7.35am.
“Our condolences go to the families of those who died and our thoughts are with the survivors. The UK stands ready to provide assistance.”
“We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogen.
In Syria, the quake was felt in the country’s West coast from Latakia to Damascus, the capital of Syria, as well as other major population centres arond the country.
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