Death Toll From Syria-Turkey Quake Nears 10,000
On Wednesday, families in southern Turkey and Syria endured a second night in the bitter cold as overworked rescuers hurried to extricate survivors from the rubble two days after a devastating earthquake that claimed the lives of more than 9,600 people. Numerous victims were arranged in a line on the ground outside a hospital in the Hatay region of Turkey, some wrapped in blankets and sheets and others in body bags. Many people in the disaster area slept in their cars or on the streets beneath blankets because they were afraid to enter the structures that had been shaken by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck early on Monday and was already Turkey’s deadliest since 1999. Rescuers there and in neighboring Syria issued a warning that the death toll might continue to rise because several survivors claimed assistance had not yet arrived.
In the southern Turkish city of Antakya, Melek, 64, said, “Where are the tents, where are food trucks?” She added that she had not seen any rescue teams. “Contrary to prior calamities in our nation, there hasn’t been any food distribution here.
We made it through the earthquake, but the cold or hunger here will kill us.”
The death toll in Turkey exceeded 7,100 as the disaster’s scope became more and more clear.
According to the Syrian government and a rescue organization operating in the rebel-held northwest, the confirmed death toll in Syria, which has already been decimated by 11 years of conflict, increased to more than 2,500 over night.
Ten provinces in Turkey have been placed under emergency rule by President Tayyip Erdogan.
Monday morning, with little time for the sleeping populace to respond. In Turkey and northern Syria, it caused tens of thousands of injuries, toppled thousands of buildings, including hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings, and rendered vast numbers of people homeless. According to Turkish authorities, 13.5 million people lived in the 450 km (280 miles) from Adana in the west to Diyarbakir in the east and were impacted by the crisis. This area is larger than the distance between Boston and Philadelphia or Amsterdam and Paris.
It claimed lives in Syria as far south as Hama, around 100 kilometers from the epicenter. According to Turkey’s disaster management organization, there were over 38,000 injuries. THE RUBBLE, UNDER Rescuers and locals in the northern Syrian village of Jandaris reported that dozens of structures had collapsed. Relatives of those who had lived there gathered around the rubble of the 32-apartment building saying they had not seen anyone evacuated alive.
Rescue attempts were being hampered by a shortage of heavy equipment needed to lift massive concrete slabs.
Rescue teams have had difficulty getting to some of the worst-affected communities due to damaged roads, bad weather, a lack of supplies, and a lack of heavy equipment.
There are some places that lack electricity and gasoline. Aid workers expressed special alarm about the situation in Syria, where there were already more people in need of assistance than at any other time since the conflict broke out and divided the country, hampering relief efforts. The odds of finding survivors alive are decreasing with each passing minute and hour, according to the chief of the World Health Organization, who has warned that the rescue attempts are in a race against time. A rescue organization in Syria’s insurgent-held northwest reported that the death toll had increased to over 1,280 and that over 2,600 people had been injured. Due to the existence of hundreds of families under the rubble more than 50 hours after the earthquake, the figure is anticipated to dramatically increase, according to the rescue agency.
Overnight, the Syrian health minister said the number of dead in government-held areas rose to 1,250, the state-run al-Ikhbariya news outlet reported on its Telegram feed.
The number of wounded was 2,054, he said.Turkey’s deadliest earthquake in a generation has handed Erdogan a huge rescue and reconstruction challenge, which will overshadow the run-up to the May elections already set to be the toughest of his two decades in power.The vote, too close to call according to polls before the quake, will determine how Turkey is governed, where its economy is headed and what role the regional power and NATO member may play to ease conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East.