Turkey Earthquake Death Count: On Thursday, rescuers scrambled to free thousands of people still buried under rubble after a major earthquake in Turkey and Syria killed more than 16,000.
Turkey Earthquake Death Count
With rescue attempts now having lasted longer than the 72-hour window that disaster experts believe is the most likely period to save lives, the death toll from Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake is certain to grow substantially. On Wednesday, after criticism of his government’s response to the earthquake, one of the deadliest this century, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted “shortcomings.”
Those who made it out are now left to scrounge for food and shelter, and in some cases can only watch helplessly as loved ones they were trying to save yelled for aid and then became silent as they were buried by rubble. To paraphrase a kindergarten teacher in Turkey’s Hatay region, “my nephew, my sister-in-law, and my sister-in-sister law’s in the ruins. They are trapped under the debris and there is no sign of life,” said Semire Coban.
It has been 48 hours since she first uttered the words, “We can’t reach them. We’ve been attempting to have a conversation with them, but they won’t listen. Now we must wait for assistance.” Despite the rising death toll, rescuers continued to extract victims from the wreckage.
Erdogan went to Kahramanmaras, one of the worst-affected areas, as internet criticism rose, and admitted there were faults with the response. Naturally, there are defects; the circumstances are evident; it is impossible to be prepared for a catastrophe of this scale, he said.
As reported by AFP journalists and the NetBlocks site monitoring group, Twitter was unavailable on Turkish mobile networks for many hours on Wednesday.
Deputy Infrastructure Minister Omer Fatih Sayan tweeted on Thursday that Turkey expects Twitter to collaborate more in the “battle against disinformation” after authorities had met with Twitter leaders.
Thursday morning found temperatures in Gaziantep dropping to a low of minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit), but that didn’t stop thousands of families from spending the night in their cars and improvised tents because they were too afraid to stay in their homes or were forbidden to do so.
Near the epicenter of the earthquake that struck a city in southeastern Turkey, parents strolled the streets with their children wrapped in blankets rather than leaving them in a tent’s cold interior. Wrapping her two-year-old daughter in a blanket, Melek Halici watched rescuers labor late into Wednesday night. There is a lot of discomforts when we sit down, and I feel terrible for anyone who is buried under the rubble, she said.
Officials and medical personnel in Turkey reported 12,873 deaths from Monday’s earthquake, while in neighboring Syria they reported at least 3,162 deaths. The experts are concerned that this alarming trend will only accelerate.
The European Union (EU) is organizing a donor conference in Brussels in March to raise funds from international organizations to support Syria and Turkey. EU head Ursula von der Leyen tweeted, “We are now racing against the clock to save lives together.”
When a nation is struck by tragedy, “no one should be left alone,” she remarked.
Every second, someone dies
Survivors reported feeling unable to respond to the disaster on their own because of the magnitude of the destruction and the slow response of aid workers.
Hassan (he did not give his last name), a resident of the rebel-held Syrian town of Jindayris, stated, “Even the buildings that haven’t collapsed were seriously damaged. There are now more people under the rubble than there are above it.” He said, “Only around ten people are attempting to remove them from each wrecked structure, and there is no equipment.”
In their “battle against time,” the White Helmets directing rescue operations in rebel-held areas of Syria have asked for international assistance. Since the earthquake hit, rescue workers in the northwest of Syria, which is still not under government authority, have been working tirelessly to rescue people from the rubble of dozens of collapsed buildings.
A top UN official has urged the organization to make it easier for relief supplies to reach areas held by rebels in the northwest, where they are quickly running low. UN resident coordinator in Syria El-Mostafa Benlamlih told AFP, “Put politics aside and let us conduct our humanitarian mission.”
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Syria’s Request for European Union Assistance
The sanctioned government in Damascus has made an official plea to the EU for assistance, according to the EU’s commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic.
After a decade of civil conflict and Russian and Syrian airstrikes, hospitals were damaged, the economy collapsed, and there were severe shortages of essential resources including electricity, fuel, and water.
Lenarcic said that the European Commission is “encouraging” EU member states to respond to Syria’s request for medical supplies and food while also keeping an eye on the situation to make sure that any aid is “not diverted” by President Bashar al-government. Assad’s
Search and rescue teams, as well as relief supplies, have already arrived, and aid has been committed by dozens of countries, including the United States, China, and the Gulf States. As a result of EU sanctions imposed in 2011 on Assad’s regime for its ruthless assault on demonstrators, which sparked a civil war, the EU was quick to mobilize rescue teams to Turkey but originally offered very modest support to Syria.
Among the most seismically active regions on Earth is the frontier between Turkey and Syria. Turkey has not experienced an earthquake of this magnitude since the Erzincan earthquake of 1939, which claimed the lives of 33,000 people. Seventeen thousand people were lost in a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999. With this, the article on ‘Turkey Earthquake Death Count’ ends.
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