GIBRALTAR flew its flags at half mast on Monday to mourn the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, including a locally-based surgeon who died in the tragedy.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and his staff at No.6 Convent Place joined the governor Sir David Steel at midday to hold a minute’s silence for those who died in the quake.
Authorities in southern Turkey and northern Syria reported that over 33,000 people died in the natural disaster, equivalent to the total population of Gibraltar.
One of the dead was a surgeon who worked on the Rock, Dr George Chami.
Picardo announced his death on Sunday ‘with great sadness’ after fears for his safety arose earlier in the week.
Dr Chami was in his natal Turkey on holiday when the 7.8 and 7.5 quakes struck.
“He was an extremely respected surgeon in our community, and his passing will be felt not just by all those who knew him, but every person in this close knit community,” Picardo said.
“Dr Chami chose to make Gibraltar his home, and with that improve the lives of many Gibraltarians with his talent.”
The Chief Minister said he had written to the UK ambassadors for Turkey and Syria ‘expressing our condolences and solidarity on behalf of the people of Gibraltar’.
“We continue to remember all those who have been affected and tomorrow we will hold a minute of silence for all those who have died, especially Dr Chami.
“His loss will be very deeply felt in Gibraltar by all who knew him and were his grateful patients and colleagues at the GHA,” he added.
The twin quakes struck last Monday, with rescuers rapidly losing hope of finding anyone else alive a week later.