VIDEO: Turkey-Syria quake death toll passes 41,000 - GulfToday

VIDEO: Turkey-Syria quake death toll passes 41,000


People remove furniture and household appliances out of a collapsed building in Jinderis, Aleppo province, Syria. AP

Gulf Today Report

Among the rubble, hundreds of thousands of homeless people face cold and hunger as authorities in Turkey and Syria tackle the dire humanitarian disaster caused by the earthquake that has left more than 41,000 dead.

The disaster, with a combined death toll in Turkey and neighbouring Syria exceeding 41,000, has ravaged cities in both countries, leaving many survivors homeless in near-freezing winter temperatures.

Rescuers worked through the night to rescue people clinging to life beneath the rubble eight days after Turkey's worst earthquake in modern history but hopes of finding many more survivors were fading on Wednesday.


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has acknowledged problems in the initial response to the 7.8 magnitude quake that struck early on Feb. 6 but has said the situation is now under control.

"We are facing one of the greatest natural disasters not only in our country but also in the history of humanity," Erdogan said in a televised speech in Ankara.

A boy and a man were rescued in hard-hit Kahramanmaras early on Tuesday, 198 hours after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Feb. 6.

Elsewhere in Kahramanmaras, rescuers were attempting to reach a grandmother, mother and daughter, all from one family, who appeared to have survived the quake and aftershock that killed more than 37,000 in Turkey and Syria.


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But others were bracing for the inevitable scaling down of operations as low temperatures reduced the already slim chances of survival, with some Polish rescuers announcing they would leave on Wednesday.

In the shattered Syrian city of Aleppo, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said the rescue phase was "coming to a close", with the focus switching to shelter, food and schooling.

A member of a rescue team carries the body of a child in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Jindaris. Reuters

The Turkish toll now exceeds the 31,643 killed in a quake in 1939, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said on Monday, making it the worst quake in Turkey's modern history.

The total death toll in Syria, a nation ravaged by more than a decade of civil war, has reached 5,714, including those who died in both the rebel enclave and government-held areas.

The earthquake has fanned resentment among some Turks towards the millions of Syrian refugees who have fled their civil war to Turkey. Syrians said they had been accused of looting, kicked out of camps, and insulted.

Medical aid for Aleppo

Aid has been slow to arrive in Syria, where years of conflict have ravaged the healthcare system and parts of the country remain under the control of rebels.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took a flight full of emergency medical equipment into the quake-stricken city of Aleppo on Saturday.

This aerial view shows collapsed buildings during the ongoing rescue operation in Kahramanmaras. AFP

Tedros toured damaged areas of the city and met two children who lost their parents in the earthquake.

"There are no words to express the pain they are going through," he tweeted.

Damascus said it had approved the delivery of humanitarian assistance to quake-hit areas outside its control in Idlib province and a convoy was expected to leave on Sunday. The delivery was later postponed without explanation.

Musa Hmeidi, a Syrian child who was rescued from a collapsed building in the rebel-held town of Jindaris. AFP

The transport ministry said 57 aid planes had landed in Syria this week.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged the Security Council to authorise the opening of new cross-border aid points between Turkey and Syria. The council will meet to discuss Syria, possibly early next week.

Turkey said it was working on opening two new routes into rebel-held parts of Syria.


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