The death toll from Monday’s earthquakes in the border area between Turkey and Syria now exceeds 22,000, according to data provided by the authorities of both nations and the White Helmets, the aid group that helps in rescue efforts in Syrian territory controlled by opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, writes atalayar.com.
The tragedy continues to establish itself as one of the most serious of the century. The main quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, with more than 430 aftershocks, hit the Turkish province of Gaziantep hard and was felt significantly in a swathe between the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Hama and the Turkish enclave of Diyarbakir, more than 330 kilometres northeast of Syria, causing misfortune and devastation. Rescue conditions are being made difficult by the extensive material damage caused by the earthquakes, with more than 6,500 buildings collapsed in Turkey alone, as reported by the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), and by the inclement weather in the middle of winter. Four days after the natural disaster struck, hopes of still finding survivors are dwindling due to the lack of food and the harsh conditions to sustain life amidst all the destroyed buildings.
Some 100,000 troops, including volunteers, are working on the ground in Turkey and Syria in rescue efforts, but in some cases the work has been suspended due to the lack of hope of finding survivors. The search for survivors in the provinces of Sanliurfa and Kilis has been terminated by Ankara and is almost complete in Diyarbakir, Osmaniye and Adana. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there are also 380,000 homeless people who have had to rely on various public centres and even company infrastructure to provide shelter and access to various supplies.