Turkey-Syria earthquake: Hopes of finding survivors fade as death toll reaches 21,000

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Update on the death toll, international aid, rescue efforts, and response

More than 21,000 people have been killed, and 70,000 have been injured in the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.

As of Friday (February 10), the death toll in Turkey reached 17,674. In Syria, more than 3,377 deaths and more than 5,000 injuries were reported.

These figures surpass the death toll of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Fukushima, Japan, on March 2011, killing more than 19,800 people.

International Aid

On Thursday, a United Nations convoy entered a rebel-held northwest Syria to distribute aid. Six trucks carrying “shelter supplies and non-food item packages, including blankets and hygiene kits” traveled through the Bab Al Hawa border crossing, the main UN-approved humanitarian assistance corridor connecting Turkey and rebel-held portions of northern Syria.

“We are open to the idea of delivering aid via additional border crossings,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

Syria struggled to cope with the earthquake as the region was under a blockade by the government.

Rescue efforts and response

Despite the cold temperature, search and rescue teams are now racing against the clock to save more victims from the wreckage after officials warned that the freezing weather and a lack of food, communication, and electricity might result in a “secondary disaster.”

Hopes began to fade as cries for help fell silent on the fourth day after the quake.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to restore earthquake-damaged neighborhoods within a year and to declare a state of emergency.

“Within a year, we hope to reconstruct homes in Kahramanmaras and nine other regions,” Erdogan said.

“If someone does not want to stay in tents, we can transport them to hotels on the Mediterranean shore in Alanya, Mersin, and Antalya,” he said.

According to the president, each household hit by the earthquakes would get a handout of 10,000 lire ($531). RZSP/Expat Media


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