Earthquake deaths in Syria and Turkey reach over 2,600 people
Nuray Lydia Oglu and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Gaziantep in south-eastern Turkey and neighboring Syria. Sadly, another major aftershock on the same fault line – reported to be a second earthquake – was followed by a magnitude of 7.7 in the afternoon.
The latest death toll in Turkey (Turkiye) and Syria is now over 2,600. It is feared that the death toll will increase further – under the prevailing conditions. This concerns collapsed buildings, isolated villages, severe weather conditions, and other important factors – including military instability along the border of Turkey and Syria, which will hinder rescue missions.
AP reports, “The quake, which was centered on Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras, sent residents of Damascus rushing into the street and was felt as far away as Cairo and Beirut.”
Turkey said the current death toll is over 1,651. In Syria, the death toll is now 968.
Reuters reports, “Temperatures in some areas were expected to fall to near freezing overnight, worsening conditions for people trapped under rubble or left homeless. Rain was falling on Monday after snowstorms swept the country at the weekend.”
Lee Jay Walker says, “Sadly, even during such tragedy some nations are playing a geopolitical game. Hence, while many nations have quickly responded to help Turkey, some nations are dragging their feet and have been slow in promising support to the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Hopefully, the appropriate support will be forthcoming to all areas hit – irrespective of Syria or Turkey.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “Because the debris-removal efforts are continuing in many buildings in the earthquake zone, we do not know how high the number of dead and injured will rise.”
Erdogan continued, “I wish God’s mercy on our citizens who lost their lives in this disaster, and a speedy recovery to our wounded people.”
A statement from Syria said, “Syria appeals to UN member countries, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other international organizations to help the efforts of the Syrian government to face that human catastrophe, particularly to rescue those who are still trapped under debris.”
Rescue workers face a race against the clock to find survivors. Especially with the severe weather conditions and countless fragile buildings that are slowing down progress. Also, the vastness of the region – and many remote areas – adds to the complexity of the crisis.
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