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Turkey and Syria earthquake killed around 5,000 people

On Tuesday, rescue workers in Turkey and Syria earthquake searched for survivors of the earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people. They did so despite the cold, tremors, and crumbling structures.

According to disaster authorities, several thousand structures were destroyed in towns spanning a large border region, adding suffering to a country already struggling with conflict, insurgency, refugee crisis, and a recent cholera epidemic.

As the first big 7.8-magnitude quake hit early Monday, survivors used their bare hands to search through the twisted rubble of multi-story apartment buildings, hoping to rescue relatives, friends, and anybody else sleeping within.

A heartbroken seven-year-old girl cried, “Where is my mum?” after being rescued from a crumbling building in Hatay, Turkey. The kid’s face, hair, and pyjamas were coated in dust.

Residents were in amazement as they tried to grasp the scope of the calamity.

Much of the destruction was concentrated in the area between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, a metropolis of two million where whole blocks now lay in ruins beneath collecting snow.

Another structure fell nearby, sending occupants scrambling for safety as they worked to remove a pile of brick, plasterboard, and furniture that had once been a multi-story building.

Aftershocks shook the neighbourhood, so many fatigued and frightened people slept outside all night rather than return to their homes.

What it means to be “can’t go home”

People sought cover at bus stops, wrapped themselves in plastic to ward off the cold rain, and burnt rubbish to get warm.

Mustafa Koyuncu loaded up his family of five kids and a wife into the vehicle.

“We can’t go home,” the 55-year-old man told AFP. People all throughout the world are scared.
The current death toll in Turkey is at 3,419, with a total of 5,021 from both Turkey and Syria verified deaths.

Officials from the World Health Organization have speculated that up to 20,000 people may have perished.

“There is a family I know beneath the debris,” said Omer El Cuneyd, a 20-year-old student in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa.

“My pal continued to take calls until 11 or 12 in the morning. However, she is now silent and cannot be reached. That’s where you’ll find her; down below.”

The medics were so overworked that they hardly managed to treat any of the 20,000 or so wounded people.

The first quake was so strong that it was felt in Greenland, and it was followed by a slew of aftershocks, the most recent of which occurred on Monday when rescue workers were in the midst of a search.

Turkey and Syria earthquake
Turkey and Syria earthquake

The devastation prompted a worldwide reaction, as countries as far apart as Ukraine and New Zealand all pledged to provide aid.

Officials said that three major airports were closed due to the snowfall, making it more difficult to get much-needed supplies into the region.

Years of conflict and aerial bombing by Syrian and Russian troops have already obliterated most of the earthquake-hit region in northern Syria, destroying houses, hospitals, and clinics.

Syria’s UN ambassador Bassam Sabbagh has all but ruled out reopening border crossings to enable supplies to reach regions held by rebel groups, suggesting that the violence is already dictating the humanitarian response.

Damage was recorded by the Syrian health ministry in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, and Tartus, where Russia rents a naval station.

Turkey and Syria earthquake 2
Turkey and Syria earthquake

Aleppo was Syria’s pre-war economic powerhouse, but its deteriorating infrastructure meant that buildings there often fell even before the catastrophe.
As a precaution, officials shut off the region’s natural gas and electricity, and they also cancelled classes for two weeks.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voiced concern about the potential for severe damage to two cities on its historical list: Aleppo, Syria, and Diyarbakir, Turkey.

A prison in north-west Syria housing members of the Islamic State group mutinied following the earthquakes, with at least 20 inmates fleeing, according to an AFP source.

Support offers

U.S., EU, and Russian officials all expressed sympathy and offered assistance.

Vice President Joe Biden has assured his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that the United States would provide “any and all” assistance necessary to assist in the aftermath of the recent earthquake.

Turkey’s combat drones are assisting Kyiv in its struggle against the Russian invasion, thus Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to give “the necessary aid.”

On Tuesday, official Chinese media said that Beijing had sent rescue workers, medical personnel, and supplies.

As a country, Turkey is inside a seismically active region.
In 1939, 33,000 people in the country’s eastern Erzincan region perished after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

In 1999, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck the Turkish area of Duzce, killing more than 17,000.

Istanbul is a megalopolis with 16 million people living in flimsy dwellings, and experts have long warned that a strong earthquake may cause widespread destruction.

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