People remove furniture and household appliances out of a collapsed building. AP
The last two days have brought dramatic rescues, including small children emerging from mounds of debris more than 30 hours after Monday's pre-dawn quake. But there was also widespread despair and growing anger at the slow pace of rescue efforts in some areas.
"It’s like we woke up to hell,” said Osman Can Taninmis, whose family members were still beneath the rubble in Hatay, Turkey's hardest-hit province. "Help isn’t coming, can’t come. We can’t reach anyone at all. Everywhere is destroyed.”
In Syria, residents found a crying newborn still connected by the umbilical cord to her mother, who was dead. The baby was the only member of her family to survive a building collapse in the small town of Jinderis, relatives told the media.
Rescue operations under way after the earthquake in Aleppo, Syria. Reuters
Search teams from nearly 30 countries and aid pledges poured in. But with the damage spread across several cities and towns - some isolated by Syria's ongoing conflict - voices crying for help from within mounds of rubble fell silent.
Monday's magnitude 7.8 quake and powerful aftershocks cut a swath of destruction that stretched hundreds of kilometers (miles) across southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria. The shaking toppled thousands of buildings and heaped more misery on a region wracked by Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis.
Turkey is home to millions of refugees from the war. The affected area in Syria is divided between government-controlled territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, where millions rely on humanitarian aid to survive.
Unstable piles of metal and concrete made the search efforts perilous, while freezing temperatures made them ever more urgent, as worries grew about how long trapped survivors could last in the cold. Snow swirled around rescuers in parts of Turkey.
Emergency workers rescue a woman from a collapsed building in Elbistan, Kahramanmaras, Turkey. AP
The scale of the suffering — and the accompanying rescue effort — were staggering.
Many survivors in Turkey have had to sleep in cars, outside or in government shelters.
"We don’t have a tent, we don’t have a heating stove, we don’t have anything. Our children are in bad shape. We are all getting wet under the rain and our kids are out in the cold,” Aysan Kurt, 27, told the media. "We did not die from hunger or the earthquake, but we will die freezing from the cold.”
Adelheid Marschang, a senior emergencies officer with the World Health Organization, said up to 23 million people could be affected in the entire quake-hit area, calling it a "crisis on top of multiple crises.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 13 million of the country's 85 million people were affected, and he declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces. More than 8,000 people have been pulled from the debris in Turkey, and some 380,000 have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels, authorities said.
Damaged buildings and rescue operations are seen in the aftermath of the earthquake, in Aleppo, Syria. Reuters
But authorities faced criticism from residents of hard-hit Hatay, sandwiched between Syria and the Mediterranean Sea, who say rescue efforts have lagged. Erdogan's handling of the crisis could weigh heavily on elections planned for May, and his office has already dismissed the criticism as disinformation.
Nurgul Atay told the media she could hear her mother’s voice beneath the rubble of a collapsed building in the Turkish city of Antakya, the capital of Hatay province. But rescuers did not have the heavy equipment needed to rescue her.
"If only we could lift the concrete slab, we’d be able to reach her,” she said. "My mother is 70 years old, she won’t be able to withstand this for long.”
Millions across the ravaged region defied expectation and voted for the man who has ruled Turkey for two decades and fell just short of securing another five-year term on May 14.
The earthquake struck minutes after 01:00 GMT in the early hours of the morning and was felt in southern Turkey, Israel, Egypt and the Greek islands of Crete and Rhodes, the broadcaster reported.
Six people died in Pasaman district and four in neighbouring West Pasaman district, he said. Rescuers were still searching for four villagers believed to be buried under tons of mud that tumbled down from the surrounding hills triggered by the quake.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a message of condolences to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, over the victims of the earthquake that struck the island of Java, which resulted in hundreds of casualties.
Backed by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce, the event played host to 500 specialised companies, unveiling the latest and most sought-after designs in watches, jewellery, and gold ornaments from around the world.
The tragedy struck the town of Qaraqosh, in a wedding hall with a capacity of “no more than 400 people,” Interior Minister Amir Al Shammari told a press conference. That night, it held in excess of 900 people, he said.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid wished the newly appointed judges success in their new roles and highlighted the importance of constantly enhancing the DIFC’s judicial framework.
The light aircraft, which reportedly belonged to RioZim, crashed in the Zvamahande area of Mashava, killing all six onboard — four foreigners and two Zimbabweans, police said. The mid-air crash is suspected to have been caused by a mechanical fault.